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Full text of "The American in England /"

COLLECTION 

OF 

ANCIENT AND MODERN 

BRITISH AUTHORS- 



VOL. C XXXII. 



THE AMERICAN 

IN 

ENGLAND. 



I 



PRINTED BY J. SMITH, 16, RUE MONTMORENCY. 



THE AMERICAN 

I N 

ENGLAND. 



BY THE AUTHOR OF "A YEAR IN SPAIN.'' 



"If we may judge of what has been wrote on these things, by all who have 
wrote and galloped, or galloped and wrote, from the great Addison, who galloped 
with a satchel of books hanging at his tail, and galling his beast's crupper at 
every slroke, there is not a galloper of us all, who might not have gone on ambling 
quietly over his own ground, in case he had any, and have wrote all he had to 
write, dry shod as well as not." Sterne. 




PAIUS, 

BAUDRY'S EUROPEAN LIBRARY, 

RU£ dd coq, near the louvre. 
SOLD ALSO BY AMYOT, RUE DE LA PAIX ; TRUCHY, BOULEVARD DES ITALIENS , 
TUEOPHILE BARROI8, JUN., RUE RICHELIEU; LIBRAIRIE DES ETH ANGERS, 
RUE NEUVE SAINT-AUGUSTIN; AND HEIDELQFF AND CAMPE, 
RUE VIVIENNE. 



1836. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/americaninenglan01mack 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE VOYAGE. 

Departure from New York — Scenes in the Bay — Leaving the 
Land — Survey of the Ship — Night View in scudding before a 
Southwester — The Watch on Deck — Hard Life of Merchant 
Sailors — Review of Ship's Company, 

CHAPTER II. 

THE CHANNEL. 

Strike Soundings — Land — Escape from running down a Brig — St. 
Alban's Head— The Pilot— Isle of Wight— British Hardihood 
exemplified by a Pilot — The Needles — Animated Spectacle in 
entering the Harbour — Anchor near Spithead — The Navarin 
and Skipper Sam — Fate of the missing Pilot, 

CHAPTER III. 

PORTSMOUTH. 
Sail to Porstmouth in the Navarin — Sensations of Landing — A 
Stage-coach — Dress and Appearance of the Population — Build- 
ings and Shops — The invisible Dock-yard — Sailors on Shore — 
English Steamers — A Family Group, 

CHAPTER IV. 

THE KENTISH COAST. 
Leave Portsmouth — Beachy Head — Dunge Ness — Light-house 
Sinecures — River Pilot — Shipwrecks— Appearance of the Coast 
— Hythe — Dover — Cinque Ports — The Downs — Kentish 

Wreckers, 

CHAPTER V. 
THE THAMES. 
English Coasting Craft— French Fishermen— Ramsgate and Mar- 
gate—Kentish Watermen— Tales of Shipwreck— The Convict 



vi 



CONTENTS 



Ship-r-Dangers of the Thames — Navigation of the River — The 
Nore — Approach to Gravesend — Leave the Hannibal, . 

CHAPTER VI. 

JOURNEY TO LONDON. 

Row to Gravesend — Dover Coach — Face of Country — Scenes 
on the Road — Style of Vehicles — Appearance of Population — 
Management of the Coach — Relays of Horses — Conversation 
— Approach London — Shops — Street Rabble — Westminster, 

CHAPTER VII. 

THE COLONNADE HOTEL. 

Leave the Coach — Arrangement of the Inn — Coffee-room— Tete- 
a-tete with a Sirloin — Dining Groups — Scene of Dulness— 
Breakfast and the Times, . 

CHAPTER VIII. 

WALKS IN LONDON. 

Appearance of Shops— Stand of Hackney-coaches — Life of a 
London Horse — Regent-street — Architecture of Club-houses 
—Duke of York's Statue— St. James's Park, 

CHAPTER IX. 
WALKS IN LONDON. 
Piccadilly — Quadrant— Placard-bearers — Church of All-Souls— 
Park Crescent — Regent's Park — The Terraces — Improvements 
in London — Their good Taste — Adaptation to America, 



CHAPTER X. 

WALKS IN LONDON. 

Circuit of Regent's Park — Southern Terraces — View of the 
Grounds — Comparison of Regent- Street and Broadway — Equi- 
pages and Horses — Street Population — Female Walkers — Pre- 
servation of Order, 

CHAPTER XL 

DRURY-LANE THEATRE. 
Conversation at Dinner — Entrance to Theatre— Appearance of 
House — The Audience— The Play— Saloon— Picture of Morals 
—Midnight Scene in the Streets, 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XII. 

WALK TO THE CITY. 
St. Martin's in the Fields— Strand — Waterloo Bridge — Temple 
Bar — Shops — Ludgate Hill — St. Paul's — Interior — Unsuited 
for Reformed Worship — Monuments — Whispering Gallery— 
Dome — View of London, ....... 

CHAPTER XIII. 

THE CITY. 

Buildings— Shops — Vehicles — City Population — Bank of England 
v — Stock Exchange — Royal Exchange — Lloyd's, 

CHAPTER XIV. 

THE CITY. 

Change— American Sea Captains — Comparison with English- 
Rothschild— His Character — Dolly's — Covent Garden — Gus- 

^ tavus, ' ' + . ••• ", r ,'• 

CHAPTER XV. 

EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 

Westminster Hall— Court of King's Bench— Great Brewery- 
Thames Tunnel — Its Construction — Importance of its Com- 
pletion, .... ... ... 

CHAPTER XVI. 
THE RIVER. 

Thames Wherries — Utility of the Tunnel — London from the 
Thames — Movement on the River — Tower of London — Re- 
galia, 

CHAPTER XVII. 

OMNIBUS ADVENTURES. 
St. Catharine's Dock — Paddington Omnibus — Party of Passengers 
—A Blockade — Angel Inn — Pentonville — Adelphi Theatre, 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

SUNDAY IN LONDON. 
Church — Drive to Hyde Park — Apsley House — The Park — Equi- 
pages — Air of the Groups — Zoological Gardens — A Melancholy 
Monkey, 



VIII 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XIX 

NOVEMBER IN LONDON. 
Rainy Streets — Adventures in the Mud — A Cat's-meat Merchant 
— Umbrellas — Labour Exchange — Conversation of Workies — 

R. D. Owen, 225 

CHAPTER XX. 

ISLINGTON. 

Liston— Remove to Islington — Scenes from Window — Suburban 
Rambles — Habits of Retired Citizens— Life of Seclusion — 
Subjects for Emigration, 237 



CHAPTER XXI. 

DRIVE TO BRIGHTON. 
Dart Coach-^Scene at Starting— Suburbs — Benevolent Insti- 
tutions — Rural Tastes of Englishmen — Scenes at the Roadside 
— Fellow-Travellers— Their Conversation — Brighton — Church 
—Albion Hotel, 252 



CHAPTER XXII. 

BRIGHTON. 

Pavilion — Palace — Stables — A fine Day — Hurdle Race — High 
Wind — The Race — The Esplanade— Return to London — Con- 
versation on the Road, 272 



CHAPTER XXIII. 
LONDON. 

Christmas — Celebration by Populace — Comparison with Catholic 
Countries — Westminster Abbey— Exterior— Interior— Services 
— Sermon — Tombs — Den of a great Publisher, . . . 291 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND. 
Leave London — Spread Eagle Coach — Road to Dover — Steamer — 
Voyage — Fellow-travellers — Disembarkation — Hotel Quillacq 
— Comparison of France and England — Conclusion, . . «* 08 



PREFACE 



Feeling that irresistible impulse which prompts a man to 
perpetrate a book, and having no land of his own on which to 
amble quietly about and write a work of travels dryshod, 
according to the approved method set forth in the motto, the 
author, as an only resource, was forced to cross the water, and 
visit, in his proper person, the country which he proposed to 
describe. 

Trained almost from infancy to a profession which ren- 
dered connected study impossible, and having, only by dinl 
of much perseverance, got what little education has fallen to 
his share in much the, same discursive and vagabond manner 
that a chicken gets his breakfast, a kernel of information in 
one corner and another in the next, he found himself, on 
mounting to begin his journey, quite unincumbered by any 
satchel of books such as hung at the crupper of the great 
Addison. To set out as a teacher of wisdom, with such poor 
qualifications, was to be destitute indeed. Thus situated, yet 
still impelled by the necessity of writing, the author felt that 
all that remained for him was to forget that any books before 
his own had ever been written, and, despising the erudition 
which was beyond his reach, endeavour to see each thing as 
his own eyes might convey its picture to his mind ; and look- 
ing watchfully about him, from the moment of his arrival in 
the country which was to be the scene of his travels until he 
should leave it, take as accurate notice as he might of all his 
impressions, and seek, in simple language* to convey them to 
his countrymen. 



PREFACE. 



The author has simply attempted, then, to give, in the fol- 
lowing pages, a faithful narrative of whatever he saw during 
a visit to England. Thus setting out with promising little, 
that little he will yet exert himself conscientiously to per- 
form. He feels that he has at least a right to lay claim to 
honesty of intention, and to as little prejudice of opinion as 
may possibly fall to the share of a writer who attempts the 
description of a country having so much in common with his 
own, and in the study of which comparisons must, of neces- 
sity, suggest themselves at every step. The two countries 
are, indeed, so much alike, that one is perpetually prompted 
to enquire wherein consists the difference. This he will en- 
deavour to do with as little partiality for his own as is con- 
sistent with that ardent patriotism which is the common atlri" 
bute of Americans, — a feeling of nationality inherited with the 
laws, the language, and the manners of the country from which 
we derive our origin, and which is sanctioned not less by the 
comparison of the blessings we enjoy with those of other 
lands, than by the promptings of good feeling and the dictates 
uf good taste. 

It is, perhaps, but fair to admit, that the author did set out 
with some feeling of animosity towards England — a feeling 
engendered in his bosom by the calumnious depreciation of 
his own country by British writers, actuated by the desire, 
through the misrepresentation of our institutions and national 
character, to promote their own personal interests, or react in 
the interest of conservative principles upon public opinion at 
home. From the perusal of their works, which he very na- 
turally assumed to be the prevailing sentiment of England to- 
wards his country, he had been led^to feel some measure of ill- 
will towards England in return. This, however, has yielded 
almost entirely to his own personal observation. If, indeed, a 
jealousy towards America, growing out of the recollection of 
that war which resulted in our independence, and which, 
having been successful on our side, has left us without any 
feeling of rooted dissatisfaction, be, as it certainly is, a pre- 
vailing feeling among some classes of Englishmen so remark- 



PREFACE x< 

able for their inveterate egotism, it is, on the contrary, pleas- 
ing to observe that the more elevated and enlightened look to 
our growth and prosperity with a liberal and kindly interest, 
the more creditable to those who entertain it, that they have 
most to dread from the influence of our example. 

The author found, moreover, that there was so much 
identity between his own country and that which he was visit- 
ing, that it was not easy to hate the one without also haling 
the other. Hence, the patriotism which made America dear 
to him prompted him to love England : for, after all, we are 
ourselves but Englishmen in another hemisphere. We are 
only different editions of the same work ; in America, plain, 
useful, and got up with something more of the spirit of the age ; 
while in England, though the common type be mean and de- 
faced, yet is the volume pleasing to peruse, rich as it is every 
where with antique blazonry and illumination. He has found, 
indeed, a pleasure, not easy to describe, in the observation of 
so many objects connected with the early history of our race, 
and in offering his homage at a thousand sites hallowed by the 
consecrating associations of genius and heroism. 

He cannot help feeling that there is in the two countries 
unbounded motive to mutual pride, instead of any incentive 
to jealousy. America may look with well-founded enthu- 
siasm to the past history and present greatness of the country 
from which she sprung ; and if there be any one achievement 
of which, more than another, England has occasion to be 
proud, it is the planting of this vast empire, so rapidly spread- 
ing itself over a noble continent, worthy to be the field of the 
most magnificent experiments, and destined to perpetuate her 
religion, her institutions, her literature, and her laws, and to 
keep alive the memory of her greatness, of which its own ex- 
istence is the noblest monument, to the remotest ages. 

The writer begs, then, at the outset, to be acquitted of any 
injurious prejudices. In a professional point of view he has 
nothing to gain by subserviency to parties ; and his success and 
advancement, depending wholly on himself, can neither be 
made nor marred by men in power, while, as for any re- 



xii 



PREFACE 



action in his own country to be brought about by the abuse of 
the institutions of England, he is not aware that there is one 
native-born American, among the whole thirteen millions of 
our population, whom it would be necessary to convert from 
any partiality towards such institutions of the mother country 
as have been omitted in the construction of our political 
system. 

There are two ways in which one might write of a country 
like England : in the first place instructively, by the collection 
of materials and facts of a statistical and political nature, rea- 
soning upon the results they present, and indulging in com- 
parisons ; in the second place amusingly, by describing what- 
ever characters or events of a private nature passed under the 
observation of the writer, and by serving up, for the public's 
money, details of conversations, incidents, and opinions which 
had been furnished to him without price, through the hospi- 
tality of his entertainers. For the first method the author 
found himself unqualified by actual knowledge, and by the 
taste to acquire it; for the second, which has been so success- 
fully used by British writers on his own country, and with 
scarce inferior profit by others on England, he felt that he had 
no vocation. 

New York, October 1, 1835. 



THE AMERICAN 
IN ENGLAND. 

7p 

CHAPTER I. 

THE VOYAGE. 

Departure from New York — Scenes in the Bay — Leaving the Land — 
Survey of the Ship — Night View in scudding before a Southwester — 
The Watch on Deck — Hard Life of Merchant Sailors — Review of Ship's 
Company. 

It was a beautiful autumn morning, being the 1st of No- 
vember, 1833, when I found myself at the hour of ten, 
punctual to the announcementof the newspapers, on board 
the steamer Hercules, which was in attendance on the ship 
in which I had taken passage for London. A number of 
friends had gathered there to greet me with their parting 
good wishes and hopes for an agreeable and speedy passage, 
and the effort which I was obliged in decency to make to 
listen to their conversation and reciprocate their kindness, 
checked the indulgence of those regrets with which I was 
leaving my home. 

The steamer was crowded with the friends of the pas- 
sengers, cabin and steerage, a motley group, conspicuous 
among whom stood our captain, who was about to become 
so important a personage to us. He was taking leave of 

friends, attending deferentially to the last behests of owners 

l 



! 



THE VOYAGE 



and consignees,watchingover the due arrangement of certain 
packages, letter-bags, and more interesting heaps of beef, 
mutton, and poultry; reserving, however, a more peculiar 
care to a chronometer, which he carried suspended in a 
handkerchief. The moment the steamer reached the ship's 
side, she was there stoutly secured by hawsers. The bars 
which had been lying against the windlass were shipped, and 
a dozen or more jolly tars, headed by a stout, boatswain- 
looking second mate, rose upon them with the energy of 
strong bodies and stout hearts, making the palls of the 
windlass rattle as they hove round, and the whole harbour 
resound with the long-drawn and monotonous, yet not un- 
pleasing song, with which they accompanied and gave con- 
cert to their labour. 

Our anchor was soon apeak; the steamer started her 
engine, and we moved boldly ahead, despite the flood tide 
which was still running. My native city, with its bay, its 
islands, and charming environs, had never worn a more 
attractive aspect than now that I was prepared to leave it, 
with regret that I had never before experienced. It was 
the beginning of that delightful season known among us as 
the Indian summer, and the weather was beautifully still 
and calm ; the smoke from the city and the countless steamers 
that were everywhere urging their busy way and/iisturbing 
the calm waters with their bustling passage, rose in per- 
pendicular threads towards the sky ; while four other packet- 
ships werelying over their anchors, their sails set, and ready 
to weigh with the first of the ebb. The small craft bound 
in the direction of the tide suffered themselves to be borne 
lazily along, while those to whom it was unfavourable, with 
jib down, and peak of the mainsail dropped, were riding at 
their anchors. Further up the Hudson the sloops were 
bounding merrily along, under the influence of a western 
breeze which was beginning to blow. Not a cloud was any 



THE VOYAGE. 



8 



where to be seen; yet a light haze, which hung over the 
shore and water, and which the diminished energy of the 
wintry sun had not yet dispersed, gave a tempered and 
melancholy beauty to the picture, which was in harmony 
with my feelings. 

I took a farewell look at the city, with its encircling forests 
of masts ; at the Battery, with its trees and promenades, the 
spires which rose in every direction, and the dark and vene- 
rable steeple of old Trinity ; at Brooklyn, smirking in tasteless 
finery, at Hoboken and Weehawken, fringed with their 
forest-trees and variegated foliage ; at the beautiful bay, 
whose still waters spread in glassy smoothness on every side, 
and at the islands with which it was so picturesquely stud- 
ded. The vigorous efforts of the Hercules — well deserving 
the name — soon brought us to Staten Island and the 
Quarantine Ground, with its fleet of ships, and the Narrows 
quickly closed behind us, shutting the city from our view, 
as we entered the broad bay into which the Hudson, Passaic, 
and Raritan, pour the mingled tribute of their waters. A 
light breeze had now sprung up; we made sail, and when 
all was well, trimmed sharp, and we found ourselves head- 
ing up for the Swash Channel, the steamer cast off, and, 
greeted by three hearty cheers from the friends of the steerage 
passengers, who had accompanied them thus far, charging 
them with thousands of parting messages to friends in the 
old countries, we were at length abandoned to our efforts. 

The tide was now strong under our lee, and the bar at 
the mouth of the harbour, with lighthouse and beacons, 
were soon behind us. A vexatious delay of an hour in 
getting rid of the pilot, whose boat was not at hand, put 
our captain, who seemed to have more than an American's 
share of the spirit of despatch, quite in a passion. This 
was increased by the clumsy way in which the young pilot, 



1 



THE VOYAGE 



who was evidently a new band, managed the ship; he got 
her twice in irons, and going astern at a famous rate, while 
endeavouring to lay her to. At length, however, the beau- 
tiful Trimmer was seen emerging from the harbour; she 
came swooping along like a wild bird, rounded to under our 
lee, and, taking the pilot off in her little cockle-boat, which 
skimmed as lightly over the waters as herself, hurried 
away in another direction. The pilot bore with him our 
letters and latest adieus, and we had taken a final leave of 
our country. 

And now the captain, relieved from the temporary sus- 
pension of his authority in his own ship, joyfully resumed 
the command, issuing, in a manly, distinct voice, which 
carried obedience with it, a few necessary orders; the sai- 
lors, sensible of the propriety of each, and tired of wasting 
their labour, sprang with alacrity to obey. The ship was 
soon under complete command, fell off to her course, the 
yards were trimmed, the studding-sails set, and she bounded 
joyfully forward. 

Meantime the mate and sailors busied themselves in se- 
curing every thing for sea. The anchors were got on the 
bows, the cables unbent and paid below, the fenders hauled 
in, the ropes coiled clear for running, and every thing that 
could be moved from its station by the lurching of the ship 
securely lashed. The breeze blew fresh, and we skimmed 
rapidly along, and the ship soon began to dance to the 
unequal and rolling surface of her appropriate element. 
Those who had been long enough on shore to lose their 
sea-legs, or who had never been any where else, now began 
to cling for support to the rails and belaying-pins. The 
Highlands were soon lost in the distance, and the shores 
of Long Island also grew dim and mingled with the sea, 
and the only remaining objects for the attention to fix on 



THE VOYAGE. 



without, were the other packets following in our track, a 
few vessels making for the port, and the vast ocean whose 
depths we were rushing forth to explore. 

Our ship, thus isolated, began to assume a new conse- 
quence in our eyes. I measured her extent, to be for some 
weeks the limits of our little world; scanned her sails and 
rigging, which were rather in a tattered condition, with a 
seaman's eye; looked to the physiognomy of each sailor 
and fellow-passenger; took a glance of observation at sun- 
dry pigs and sheep, and a nautical cow without horns, 
which was on her fourth voyage, and which was, with the 
rest, very comfortably housed in the longboat, with thejol- 
lyboat inverted over their heads for a shed; and, finally, 
made some progress in studying the character of a bear, 
which was to find her home on the main hatch until trans- 
ferred in England to the menagerie of some noble, weary 
of herding with his kind, or to form the poetic appendage of 
some yacht, or perchance to figure as bowman in the gig 
of a dandy young captain of one of His Majesty's frigates. 
Bruin was stretched upon her back, scratching herself with 
a truly feminine grace, and grinning with the pleasure of 
her sensations. I felt the muscles of my own face gra- 
dually losing their stern contraction, and relaxing into a 
sympathetic grin, which seemed a sort of treachery to the 
friends I was leaving. 

My eye, in glancing round, next caught sight of a pleasing 
group, consisting of sundry stout sirloins of beef and 
haunches of mutton, garnished with occasional turkeys, 
geese, and game, which were hanging from the mizzen 
stay, and which, when fresh from the comforts of break- 
fast, and the sorrows of parting, had attracted less of my 
attention. My stomach, upon which I happened just then 
to place my hand, felt lean and hollow, and I began to 
doubt whether part of my malaise did not proceed from the- 



6 



THE VOYAGE. 



circumstance, when the appropriate ringing of the dinner- 
bell, and the joy which it occasioned within me, convinced 
me that such was the fact. As I directed my steps towards 
the companion-way, my eye caught a last glimpse of the 
Highlands, trembling in the horizon; the dark fringe of 
trees that crested them, seen but occasionally, as the ship 
mounted on the top of a higher wave, and beautifully illu- 
mined by the last rays of the autumnal sun, then sinking 
behind them, and playing in a line of golden light on the 
broken billows which danced and lifted their white caps 
between. 

Just then, as I was threatened with a new access of sen- 
timent, one of the most uncivil of these poetic billows over- 
taking us, and swashing rudely against the mizzen chan- 
nels, sent a whole bucketful of spray into my face. Unac- 
customed as I had been in the larger vessels, in which I had 
sailed of late, to be thus unceremoniously boarded on the 
hallowed region of the quarter-deck, this seemed to me 
quite a superfluous piece of impertinence. The remains 
of my sentiment were at once washed away ; and, not 
minding a little honest salt-water, I betook myself forth- 
with to the substantial comfortings of the repast, which I 
found smoking on the cabin table. 

Dinner was over; tea and conversation had followed; 
the evening was already far advanced, and I began to yield 
to the sleepy sensation which the familiar roll of the sea in- 
spired. Before turning in, I ascended to the companion- 
way, to breathe the fresh air, and see what progress we 
were making, and took my station on the taffrail, near the 
helmsman. Familiar as I was with the sight of ships in 
every possible situation, I was much struck with the beauty 
of the scene. We were tearing along at a fearful rate ; the 
sails were bellying and straining to the extent of the sheets 
which held them, under ihe influence of what is called a 



THE VOYAGE. 



1 



smoky southwesler, unaccompanied by a single cloud, but 
with a pervading and heavy haze, by which the horizon 
was circumscribed to narrow limits, and through which the 
moon, just then rising beneath the foot of the foresail, and 
slightly shorn in its orb, was struggling to reveal itself, 
shining dim and murky. The sea was agitated and brok- 
en into short but yawning ground-swells, into which the 
ship plunged and surged violently, trembling with the op- 
posing action of the two elements by which she was driven 
and restrained ; now settling her stern into the trough of 
the sea, now overtaken by a succeeding billow, rising 
proudly on its crest, and dashing the white and sparkling 
foam far away on either side. 

At dark our studding-sails had all been hauled in, and 
made up as the breeze increased ; the mizzen topgallant- 
sail had been furled, and the mizzen topsail reefed; but the 
spanker, that worst of all sails in a strong quartering breeze, 
was still set, acting as a powerful lever to force the bow 
into the wind. The steersman was standing, with every 
muscle stiffened, against the wheel, giving the ship the full 
force of the helm as the quartering seas struck rudely against 
her counter; then relaxing his hold, and allowing the 
wheel to spin freely round as she fell off towards her 
course. 

I readily recognised our helmsman to be a collier, and 
a North of England man; a smasher, as they are called in 
the service. He was quite a handsome youth, with light 
curly hair, but a sooty complexion, stained in the coal trade. 
He was characteristically clad in a rough pea-jacket, a pair 
of trousers tightened round his waist with a leathern belt, 
from which depended a long sheath-knife, while his head 
was surmounted by a huge canvas hat, having a long apron 
behind, which was confined by a ropeyarn nettle beneath 
his arms, so as to exclude all streams of water from the 



8 



THE VOYAGE. 



back of his neck, which is much the most sensitive part ol 
a sailor's person. The whole was thoroughly stiffened 
with tar and pitch, which, with true nautical forethought, our 
youth had doubtless daubed on as often as a bucket of either 
passed through his hands in the duty of the ship. This fa- 
mous headgear, borrowed from the coalheavers in England, 
is now in general use among all nautical worthies, who 
have adopted it under the name of a southwester, which 
made it peculiarly applicable to the breeze before which we 
were staggering. 

Just forward of the mizzen rigging stood the mate ; he 
was holding on to a belaying-pin to steady himself; eyeing 
the wind keenly ; glancing knowingly at the sails ; and, as 
their leeches occasionally lifted, giving his orders to the 
helmsman, which were promptly re-echoed. One other of 
the watch might be seen sitting on the windlass, and leaning 
against the bithead. This was the look-out, stationed there 
to see that we should run nothing down, and to strike the 
bells. He was beguiling the time with a doleful song, a 
word of which reached us from time to time above the 
noise made by the dash of the ship through the water, and 
the whistling and roar of the wind through the blocks and 
rigging, and against the sails. The rest, sheltered from 
the blast under the lee of the hurricane-house, and nestling 
snugly like a litter of pigs, were singing in a low tone, as 
became their proximity to the captain and his fellow-nobs 
of passengers, some rude ditty that told of hapless or happy 
loves with Sues and Nancys, in which all joined in a sup- 
pressed and melancholy moan at the burden; or listening 
to some older worthy as he told of toils at sea; anchors 
broken, or cables parted in roadsteads; stranding upon rocks 
and quicksands ; ships run down, and masts gone by the 
board ; or dwelling upon the more favourite theme of ras- 
cally usage from mates and captains; and longshore ven- 



THE VOYAGE. 



9 



geance wreaked upon that unhappy scapegoat, the second 
dicky. 

In the inidst of this pastime they were startled and 
aroused by a loud snorting, as if of some sea monsters im- 
mediately beside them, proceeding from a noisy school ol 
porpoises, whose path we had crossed, and which imme- 
diately gave chase to us. They came bounding joyously 
over each other ; sometimes leaping from the very crest ol 
a wave far into the air, and descending into the yawning 
trough below with a plunge that sent forth a thousand 
sparkles. After playing about our bows until they found 
w r e were no match for them, and that there was to be no 
race, they suddenly wheeled off, pushing their course in the 
directiori of the wind, and by their lively, joyful gambols, 
proclaiming, according to nautical superstition, a continu- 
ation of the noble breeze before which we were driving. 

Our passage commenced under happy auspices; and for 
three days we drove gaily before the wind, which had 
hauled to the northwest; the fourth found us in the midst 
of the Gulf Stream, which we were crossing obliquely. It 
was idle to dream of passing this barrier without a blow ; 
so on it came, whistling from the cold north ; and we had 
nothing to do but to roll our sleeves up to it; that is, get 
every thing .snug, and face it boldly. The sky lowered, 
and the clouds flew low, dropping an occasional sprinkling 
of rain. The current, running in an opposite direction to 
the wind, produced a heavy, irregular sea, which frequently 
came on board of our deeply-laden ship, keeping the deck 
constantly flooded. Between the larger waves innumer- 
able miniature ones ruffled the intermediate space ; while 
from their summits, at the eddies of the current, masses of 
water were torn and driven along in whirlwinds of what 
the sailors call spoondrift. The scene of elemental strife 
was indeed sublime, 



10 



THE VOYAGE. 



Our ship was soon reduced to close-reefed topsails and 
foresail. The wind had drawn ahead, and our hitherto rolling 
motion was exchanged for that fatal one to seasick stomachs, 
the disturbing pitch of a head sea. Our sailors had a hard 
time ; and often did the stroke of the handspike, three times 
repeated over their heads, and the maliciously-pleased cry 
of the watch on deck — " All hands to shorten sail !" H Hear 
the news there!" " Heave out!" " Show a leg!" call out 
the poor fellows of the watch below, perhaps but an hour 
in their bunks, after four hours of drenching and severe toil. 
Now it was one of our old sails split to be unbent, and 
another got up; now another reef in the topsails ; and now 
mainsail to be furled. The poor fellows would come 
crawling up, half clad, or in the wet clothes of last watch, 
heated in the confinement of the forecastle, and sickened 
by the stench from the cargo and bilgewater, to encounter 
sudden damps of the cold, wet wind, and remaiu aloft by 
the hour, tugging at the earings, or contending with the 
rustling canvass, which, full and bagging with the force of 
the hurricane, was struggling to keep free. Splicing the 
main brace— that is, a glass of grog — when the work was 
done, seemed, however, always to send them away in a 
good humour and happy. 

If, however, the watch below met with little compassion 
from the watch on deck, they also met with less from me 
than, as fellow-sinners, they ought to have done. I never 
awoke at the striking of the bell and calling of the watch, 
without finding my regrets for the fellows who had to rouse 
out swallowed up in my pleasure at discovering that I was 
not of the number. After nearly four years of watch- 
keeping, it was delightful to miss the tickled youngster of a 
midshipman, overjoyed at having reached the end of his 
own watch, and hardly waiting for the sound to get out of 
the bell ere he would thrust forward his obtrusive lantern, 



THE VOYAGE. 



Is 



with the unwelcome message — "It is eight bells, sir!" 
" Four o'clock, sir !" or, "All hands, sir!" "All hands to 
M shorten sail, sir !" 

After a day or two the wind again became fair, and we 
started gaily forward. Our situation in the cabin was com- 
fortable and pleasant enough. Among the passengers were 
two Americans besides myself ; one of whom was an old 
friend, besides being a great traveller and an agreeable 
companion. There were two Englishmen : one a half-pay 
captain in the army, who had served many years in India, 
whence he had returned in consequence of being severely 
wounded in the siege of a town in Java, during the war 
with France and her dependancies. He was gentlemanlike, 
unaffectedly kind-hearted, and intelligent. His Eastern re- 
miniscences, which usually came out with the fumes of his 
cigar after dinner, were quite as amusing as a chapter of "The 
Younger Son," with the advantage of having more the air of 
truth. The other Englishman, though intelligent enough, 
being agraduate of one of the universities, was farfrombeing 
equally agreeable ; he had a bad tone, and was not so re- 
markable for gentlemanlike propensities as for the perti- 
nacity with which he kept up the argument the whole way 
across the ocean with the captain of the ship upon the 
banal subject of America and England ; Basil Hall, Mrs. 
Trollope, and Cyril Thornton — I beg the last-named gen- 
tleman's pardon for mentioning him in such company. 
Both these Englishmen seemed to be stanch radicals in their 
own country, and decriers of the clergy and aristocracy; but 
the moment that our captain, in the simplicity of his heart, 
would join their conversation and concur with them in opi- 
nion, both would turn upon him, like man and wife, against 
the ill-judging interferer in a domestic quarrel. We had 
besides a philosophizing, free-inquiring old Frenchman, who 
was always declaiming against the state of education and 



12 



THE VOYAGE. 



society ; and forming the most Utopian pictures of what was 
to be the condition of the world when the human mind 
should cease to be bewildered by the false systems and 
theories that now fetter it. According to him, almost any 
individual child might, by proper teaching and judicious in- 
duction, he converted at will into a Scott, a Byron, or a 
Paganini. My other countryman was a young man just 
beginning his travels ; a carroty-headed youth, who had 
nothing to recommend him except his modesty and un- 
obtrusiveness; though these, as the world goes, are worth 
taking note of. 

Very few of the steerage passengers were at all visible 
during the voyage, though, according to the captain's, 
account, they amounted to near forty. After a few days, 
indeed, some of them began to muster up from their den 
of sea-sickness. They came forth haggard and pale, with 
long beards and unwashed faces; their clothes covered with 
straw, feathers, and pitch from the deck. The women had 
a wretched, helpless, squalid appearance, like chickens 
with the pip. One fellow brought his wife up one fine 
day, and endeavoured to cure her by trotting her about the 
deck. Instead of taking her arm in his, he placed himself 
behind her, with one hand under either arm, and thus 
steered her along with a certain low-lived Irish grace. 
She was a tall, long-fingered, lank-haired lassie, in a plaid 
cloak; and I felt a most painful desire to possess Hogarth's 
pencil for a moment, that I might sketch her. 

A few of the steerage passengers were Germans, return- 
ing circuitously home, for the want of a direct conveyance; 
they had no wives but their long pendant pipes, to which 
they seemed wedded. The rest were sturdy Englishmen. 
Some were going home lor the friends who had sent them 
on a pioneering voyage; others, happy fellows, for their 
sweethearts, whom they found themselves in a condition 



THE VOYAGE. 



to turn into wives; and there was one widow, whose hus- 
band had fallen a victim to the bilious fever, or the cheap 
price of whiskey, returning to find relief for her sorrows in 
the sympathy of friends, or perhaps more solid consolation 
in the shape of a second husband. Let me not forget to 
make honourable mention of the white-headed little raga- 
muffin who was working his passage, and who in this capa- 
city had the decks to sweep, ropes to haul, chickens and 
pigs to feed, the cow to milk, and the dishes to wash, as 
well as all other jobs to do that belonged to no one in par- 
ticular. As a proof of good-will, he had chopped off the 
tails of a dandy, velvet-collared blue coat, with the cook's 
axe, the very first day out. This was performed at the 
windlass bits, in full conclave of the crew, and I suspected 
at the suggestion of a roguish man-of-war's- man, a shipmate 
of mine. The tails were cut just below the pocket-flaps, which 
gave them a sort of razee look; and, in conjunction with 
the velvet collar, made the oddest appearance in the world, 
as he would creep stern first out of the long-boat after 
milking the cow. Blow high or blow low, the poor boy 
had no time to be sea-sick: sometimes he would get adrift 
in the lee scuppers, and roll over in the water, keeping fast 
hold of the plates he was carrying to the galley. The only 
day that the poor lad wore a bright face, was that on which 
we anchored in Portsmouth. 

Such was our ship's company ; and with the little interest 
that their society afforded, the time wore heavily enough. 
Like most idle men, we found our most interesting pastime 
in the pleasures of a well-provided table. The lapse of 
time with us, was measured entirely by our meals. These 
were no fewer than four in number, or five, if we may be 
allowed to count our midnight assemblage around a dish of 
baked apples, which gave the mercy-stroke to our gastroni- 
mic capacities ; and all this in a single day, or rather in less : 



THE VOYAGE. 



for as we were live hours ahead of the New-York time on 
our arrival in England, it followed that we daily threw 
overboard a considerable portion of the twenty-four hours, 
into which the days of those happy people who can remain 
quiet are regularly divided. In the evening, a game of 
whist or chess lent its friendly aid in relieving the load of 
existence. 



CHAPTER II. 



THE CHANNEL. 

Strike Soundings — Land — Escape from running down a Brig — St. Alban's 
Head — The Pilot — Isle of Wight— British Hardihood exemplified by a 
Pilot — The Needles — Animated Spectacle in entering the Harbour — 
Anchor near Spithead — The Navarin and Skipper Sam — Fate of the 
missing Pilot. 

On the sixteenth day out we struck soundings on Euro- 
pean bottom, and in two more a continuation of the same 
breeze would have placed us in port; but there it left us, 
and during two days we beat about to no purpose against a 
light, east wind. On the third the good old southwester 
came quietly stealing over the water; it was a whole twenty- 
four hours in acquiring force. During the two days of 
light weather, the number of vessels pouring into the ' 
Channel had become considerable. As the breeze fresh- 
ened in the afternoon, they gradually dropped astern, all 
except an English gun-brig, a King's packet, which bravely 
held her way. In the afternoon the English coas* was 
indistinctly seen, and as the night advanced, the brilliant 
lights on the Lizard pierced through the gloom and mist. 

As the night advanced, the wind still freshened to a gale. 
We were going along at a rapid rate, and the chances of 



IC 



THE CHANNEL 



our getting in the next day amounted nearly to a certainty. 
The baked apples had been discussed, and we had all turned 
in unusually cheerful, wheu we were aroused by a violent 
commotion on deck. I was just dropping asleep, when the 
words of " Hard to starboard! Hard to starboard!" quickly 
repeated in the voice of the mate, and in a simultaneous 
chorus by the whole watch, with an energy that showed 
there could be no time to lose, convinced me that we must 
be in imminent danger of running down some other vessel. 
I leaped at once upon deck, and ascended the mizzen rig- 
ging, to see what (he chances were. Our ship had round- 
ed to a little, bringing the wind on the larboard quarter, 
and was breaking through the agitated waves at a fearful 
rate. From the gloom just clear of our starboard bow was 
emerging a large, heavily-laden brig, under low sail. She 
had borne away a little, bringing the wind abeam, and in- 
creasing her headway. We cleared each other perhaps 
six or eight yards. Had she been discovered a little later; 
had any hesitation occurred as to the use of the helm; or 
had our old wheelropes, which had broken no fewer than 
four times on the passage, failed us at that awful moment, 
we should have gone through the brig in an instant, scarce- 
ly having had time to hear the cries for aid sent up by 
the drowning men ere they were far behind; and whatever 
might have been our own fate, theirs, at least, would have 
been inevitable. The danger we had escaped, and the in- 
creased force of the wind, of which, in rounding to, we 
were made sensible, imposed the wholesome idea of 
greater caution. The handspike was heard striking three 
times on the forecastle ; " All hands ahoy!" was the cry that 
followed. Our topsails were close reefed, with many a 
plaintive "Ho, heave ho!" as they tugged at the strug- 
gling canvass; the mainsail too was furled; and though our 
rate seemed little diminished, the ship was under more 



THE CHANNEL. 



17 



commanding sail to haul by the wind, should other vessels 
be seen ahead ; as indeed actually oecurred several times 
during the night. On our arrival we heard that the Ca- 
nada, the packet preceding us, had run down an English 
brig in the night, whose captain was knocked overboard 
and downed. Encounters of this sort are necessarily very 
common in so frequented a sea, where the weather is so 
often thick. Our packets, which run in all weathers, and 
never heave to, are especially liable to accidents of this na- 
ture; and it is a curious commentary upon the received 
opinion in England, — by which the people seek to console 
themselves for that superiority in model, equipment and 
speed, which it is not easy to deny to us, in insisting, that 
if our ships are handsomer, theirs are strongest, — that in 
all these encounters, Brother Jonathan passes on as if no- 
thing had happened to him, and John Bull goes uniformly 
to the bottom. 

The next morning saw me up betimes. As it dawned 
towards eight we discovered land — Saint Alban's Head — 
indistinctly seen through the drizzling rain, and the clouds 
which hung low and heavy around us. It rose rather 
boldly, and was of a white or grayish colour, which contri- 
buted to render it indistinct. These were the chalk cliffs 
of Old England, characteristically ushered in amid clouds, 
rain, a hurricane of wind, and an all-pervading gloom, 
Ere long we could discover Corfe Castle, Poole, and Chris! 
Church on our left; and presently -the Isle of Wight was 
seen breaking through the gloom, the bold, naked point of 
the Needles standing in strong relief far above the horizon. 

It was blowing so very fresh that the captain feared we 
might not find a pilot-boat at sea. However, we soon dis- 
covered one ahead, and a few minutes placed us alongside 
of him. She was a short, black, clumsy, and misshapen 



18 



THE CHANNEL 



craft as it was possible to see; cutter rigged, with an im- 
mense protruding bowsprit, and huge mainboom. She was 
under close-reefed sails, yet floundered about at a famous 
rate, throwing the water up to the head of her mainsail. 
As we hove to with our head in shore, she came under 
our lee, with her jib sheet to windward, and launched a 
light boat overboard, in which two men presently put off 
for us, leaving only one to take care of the cutter, a vessel of 
thirty tons or more. They soon reached our side, jumped 
on board, and hauled their boat up on our deck. We then 
bore up, and the pilot-boat followed. The chief of the two, 
who took charge of the ship, was a stout, hale, hearty 
Englishman, frank in manners, and free of speech : he was 
neatly as well as comfortably clad, having on his head a 
broad-brimmed glazed hat, with blue jacket, with the buttons 
of the Royal Yacht Club, he being master of one of the 
yachts during the sailing season in summer. Over his blue 
trousers he had a pair of uncommonly thick hose, which he 
said he had bought in Sicily some years before, when on 
board of a nobleman's yacht; and outside of all a pair of 
formidable fisherman's boots, in which the whole of his 
legs were swallowed up. His companion was a smaller 
and much less distinguished looking personage. He too 
had on a glazed hat and blue jacket, somewhat the worse 
for wear, with a pair of equally formidable boots, although 
their dimensions might not be so well estimated, as they 
disappeared altogether beneath the canopy of an immense 
overhanging petticoat of tarpaulined canvass, which was 
secured at his waist with a drawing-string and strap of 
leather. 

The course being given to steer by, we immediately laid 
siege to the pilot, to extract such items of news as he might 
have to communicate. The most interesting by far was 



THE CHANNEL. 



19 



ihat of the unexpected return of Captain Koss. The King 
of Spain was dead ; matters, according to his account, too, 
were not going on very well in England : there was the old 
story of hard times, and worse to come. We had already 
made some progress ; the bleak point of the Needles reared 
itself boldly before us : its bald precipitous side of white 
chalk seeming to offer a stout yet ineffectual obstacle to the 
waves that tore it; and the breakers on the reef which forms 
the opposite boundary to the entrance of the harbour, shel- 
tered by the Isle of Wight, were beginning to be seen in a 
broad expanse of shattered and broken waters. Our pilot 
just then discovered that the Danish schooner which was 
following us in had hoisted a signal for a pilot at her fore. 
He consulted for a moment with his comrade, and then 
gave orders to put the helm down, and launch the little 
cockle which had brought him on board ; saying at the same 
time, there was no reason why a Yankee should have two 
pilots and the Dane none at all. It was now blowing a 
hurricane : the sea was running short and quick, with a 
combing wave and driving spray ; and I could scarcely 
credit my senses when I saw a single individual stepping 
quietly and calmly into a boat, about twelve feet long, to 
put forth alone in such an uproar of the elements. Yet 
this was actually done by our little pilot in the tarpaulin 
petticoat. He did not leave the side, however, until he had 
secured the customary fee of a piece of salt pork from the 
harness-cask, and a bottle of whiskey, which he uncok- 
ed, smelt, and from which he took a hearty, heaven-regard- 
ing quaff. Having carefully recorked and stowed it under 
the headsheets, he now hauled in his painter, took to his 
oars, and got the boat's head to wind ; pulling with a long 
and steady stroke clear of the ship, and catching the stroke 
quickly to prevent the boat's gathering sternboard. The pilots 



20 



THE CHANNEL. 



both looked upon this feat of reckless hardihood as a matter 
of course, but 1 felt sure that it was attended with great 
danger. I clambered to the poop, braced myself against 
the mizzen rigging to prevent my being blown away, and 
watched for the catastrophe with a painful interest. The little 
egg-shell, scarce distinguished from the ducks that floated 
around her, bore herself bravely; head to wind she faced 
each coming sea; atone moment disappearing in the trough, 
as if gone for ever; in the next, mounting on the top of the 
very spray which broke wildly from the crest of each wave. 

The schooner, on discovering the boat, which we feared 
for a time she might not do, hauled up for her. Presently 
after, to the horror of all of us, she again bore up and 
passed to leeward, following us in and depending upon our 
guidance. The only chance of safety for the poor fellow, 
who had thus boldly perilled himself from a sense of duty, 
and for the sake of the honest gain on which he was de- 
pendant for his support, now rested upon the bare possibi- 
lity of his being seen by the single individual who remained 
in the pilot-boat, and who must already be sufficiently 
occupied by his absorbing and perilous charge. If seen, 
too, the task of rounding to and picking up the boat was 
not easy or unattended with danger. The pilot-boat was 
now very far astern ; we watched the too reckless adven- 
turer until the eye grew weary, and then abandoned him 
to his fate with a fervent wish for his deliverance. 

By this we began to open the Needies. They are a col- 
lection of isolated chalk rocks, which make out in a western 
direction from the Isle of Wight, and are so called from 
the circumstance of some of them being sharply pointed, 
others being connected at the top, the ceaseless wash of i 
the sea forming an arch below, which the imagination, 
fruitful in discovering similes between the fantastic shapes 



THE CHANNEL. 



21 



of nature and the symmetric forms of artificial objects, and 
sometimes puzzled for a name, has fancifully likened to the 
points and eyes of needles. The bold cape from which 
these isolated rocks make off, and from which they have 
evidently been gradually broken, is called the Needle's 
Point. It rises perpendicularly five or six hundred feet 
from the sea, which, as we passed, was madly dashing 
against its base, and sending s waters far up the side. It 
is of a chalky white, and is altogether one of the most re- 
markable and boldest headlands in the world. To the 
• ♦ of the narrow passage tn rough w hich we were entering 
lay the dangerous reef called the Bridge; the sea, agitated 
by the full blast of an autumnal gale, broke over it in a 
vast extent of the most terrific breakers I had ever seen. 
Vast quantities of gulls, gannets. and shearwaters, driven 
m from sea, yet apparently delighting in the scene of strife 
and uproar, contended against the gale, wheeled in circling 
eddies, or allowed themselves to be borne before it with 
the speed of lightning. As we flew by with almost equal 
rapidity, the pilot gave, in a few sententious words, the 
appropriate tale of the loss of his Majesty's schooner the 
Nightingale, which had grounded some years before on the 
Bridge. Turning to the right he pointed to the Needle's 
Point, where, on the brink of the precipice, stood the 
lonely and isolated light-tower; and in the same breath re- 
lated how, one foggy morning, the keeper, having swal- 
lowed his morning dram, walked off the edge. 

We passed quite near Hurst Castle, a venerable ruin 
that told of feudal times, and which, until the late reform, 
sent two members to parliament. Its gray and time-worn 
sides were finely contrasted with the deep red of the two 
huge light-towers that rose beside it, and the neat appear- 
ance of the white and well-kept cottages of the lighlmen 



to 



THE CHANNEL. 



and coast-guard that clustered around it. Though the? * 
coast of England lay but a couple of miles beyond, it was 
but indistincly seen through the lurid and driving clouds, 
Occasionally the spire of a church or the tower of some 
ruined castle broke through the gloom ; but the numerous 
towns that lined the coast were not even momentarily seen. 
In return, we had a full view of the Isle of Wight, which 
we passed at the distance of a quarter of a mile; from the 
Needle's Point, it stretched eastward in an uncultivated 
down, covered with a short grass, which was still of a 
dusky green. The ridge itself appeared, against the back- 
ground of dark cloulds, of a singular regularity, defined 
as distinctly as a black line upon paper, and broken by no 
other objects than the lighthouse and beacon to guide ships 
in crossing the Bridge, and by a single individual in a white 
shirt, who, as he strode along the summit of the hill, soared 
into the cloulds in giant-like and preternatural relief. Here 
the chalk cliff changed its hues to yellow, red, and purple; 
and gangs of labourers were employed in quarrying for a 
sand used in the manufacture of glass, and said to be very 
valuable. 

The succession of objects past which we were now hur- 
ried at a very short distance and a tremendous rate, fur- 
nished an uncommonly spirited and gay spectacle. Yar- 
mouth, Newtown, and Cowes came and went like magic ; 
these were quickly followed by a continuous fleet of wind- 
bound ships, which we passed within the toss of a biscuit — 
by pleasure-yachts moored in the bays — gigs and fishing- 
boats lining the strand — by Gothic churches rising at fre- 
quent intervals, the venerable shrines of a pure and heart- 
felt religion — and by the charming residences of a rich and 
most tasteful people. There were beautiful cottages sur- 
rounded bv hay-ricks, hedges, and gardens; French and. 



THE CHANNEL 



23 



Eirzabcthan chateaux, with formal walks and alleys; or 
admirable imitations of antique castles overrun with ivy, 
yet filled apparently with all imaginable comforts, and 
graced with the fair form of woman, gazing with rapture 
from the shelter and security of the veranda, and from 
amid the plants and flowers that embosomed her, upon the 
swift flight of our ship, the strife of the elements, and the 
triumphs of man in commanding them. 

We were to anchor on the ; Mother Bank, off Ryde, as 
furnishing the most protected part of the admirable road- 
stead formed by the Isle of Wight. While yet three miles 
off we commenced shortening sail, and furling every thing, 
that we might neither part nor drag when the anchor 
should be let go. W 7 e still continued to run at the rate of 
eight knots, under bare poles, and were soon off Ryde, 
where we rounded to and let go the anchor. The chain 
rattled out at a tremendous rate, to the great dismay of the 
steerage passengers, all of whom had risen from the dead 
and come forth, and of my old friend the bear on the main 
hatch. Presently it was all out, and the ship brought up 
with a violent surge, and swung round quickly to her an- 
chor. 

There was an immense fleet of the outward bound an- 
chored in every direction around us. Two or three crui- 
sers and troop-ships lay, with housed masts and yards point- 
ed to the wind, in the roadstead of Spithead, and a mile 
beyond was the town of Portsmouth : its rusty steeples, and 
the fortifications which protect its harbour, indistinctly seen 
through the storm. A number of diminutive steamers were 
struggling slowly against the wind, in the direction of Ryde, 
Yarmouth, or Southampton; and a small cutter, having an 
American ensign stopped in her rigging, was seen standing 
towards us. This was the vessel belonging to the packet 



24 



THE CHANNEL. 



agents, which they were sending off for our passengers 
and letter- bag. She was called the Navarin, a very trim 
little craft, of which I had heard a great deal on the pas- 
sage, as well as of her skipper, the son of one of the agents, 
a semi-nautical worthy, by the name of Sam. She now 
passed under our stern, bearing herself gallantly under 
her close-reefed sails, and, luffing short round, came 
alongside, and made fast by the ropes which we threw to 
her. 

The Navarin and her skipper Sam seemed to be less at 
home in this subordinate association with our overgrown 
ship, than when moving about independently and on her 
own account. Her jibs had been hauled down, but the 
mainsail still fluttered violently in the gale, and the main- 
boom swung about in a way very formidable to those who 
stood near it. At every sea, bowsprit and bows went 
completely under, sousing the sailors who trod the deck, 
w hilst the intrepid Sam, in danger of having his head knocked 
off by the restless boom, had taken refuge within the door 
of his companion-way, and seemed to lose all heart. He 
was a little urchin of one-and-twenty or more, mounted 
ambitiously upon a pair of enormously high-heeled boots, 
which served to make his footing at this time the more in- 
secure. He had on a dandy blue jacket, covered with but- 
tons, which were meant to look like those of the Royal Yacht 
Club, though instead of those initials they bore the hum- 
bler one of the American Packet Service. An oilcloth cap 
and cloak of the same, which he in vain struggled to keep 
round him, completed his dress; whilst a face beaming 
with good nature towards others and himself, and long locks 
of sandy hair depending at either side, to please the eyes 
of the Portsmouth sirens, formed the ensemble of his ap- 
pearance. 



THE CHANNEL. 



25 



And now commenced the scene of disembarking our 
passengers; as odd a one as could well be witnessed. The 
only way to get into the cutter was by reaching from the 
channels of the ship to her rigging, and descending along 
it. This was a very simple matter to sea-going characters, 
but not so much so to clumsy labourers and countrymen, 
who had moreover nearly lost the use of their limbs by sea- 
sickness, confinement, and inactivity. They would plant 
themselves in the channels, hold on with both hands to our 
rigging, and with eyes half shut through fear, stretch forth 
an exploring and ineffectual foot in search of the rattlings 
of the Navarin's rigging, which would sometimes rise under 
them, and nearly turn them over. They never would have 
got down if the sailors had not come to their assistance, 
turned them round, guided their feet and hands, and some- 
times trundled them over. The baggage was now sent 
down with as little ceremony ; slung in ropes, or tossed 
from hand to hand ; a more beggarly assortment of clothes 
and furniture could scarce be met with at an auction in 
Saint Giles's. One box slipped from the slings upon deck 
just as the Navarin gave a desperate plunge and set her 
whole deck afloat. The contents tumbled out, and were 
scattered far and wide; a dingy shirt or two, the leg of a 
pair of red flannel drawers, the fragments of a green surtout, 
a broken jar of brown sugar, which was quickly converted 
into salt molasses, and sundry nails, and odds and ends of 
half-smoked cigars, with some small articles of plunder 
picked up about decks, which the second mate, had he not 
been better occupied, might have recognised and reclaimed. 
Part of our cabin passengers landed at the same time, still 
preserving on board of the Navarin their aristocratic advan- 
tages over the humbler worthies of the steerage, who were 
stowed with the baggage in the hold, whilst they were con- 



26 



THE CHANNEL. 



ducted to the narrow closet which Sam dignified by the 
ambitious name of the cabin. Being very desirous of 
seeing something of the intermediate coast, and the navi- 
gation of the river, whose pilots are so celebrated for their 
seamanship and dexterity, I determined to remain with the 
ship until she should reach London. 

Our business at Portsmouth was soon over, and we were 
ready to depart ; but such a hurrianceas was then blowing, 
with constantly increasing violence too, furnished no fit 
moment to put to sea. The captain determined, therefore, 
to remain in our present snug anchorage until the weather 
should moderate. We were indeed very much disposed to 
thank our good fortune that we were not still in the Channel, 
and to appreciate the good sense of the pilot's remarks as 
to the inestimable value to England of the Isle of Wight as 
a breakwater, and the vast amount of life and property which 
is annually saved from destruction by its happy position. 

Our interest in the fate of the pilot who had so boldly put 
forth in the little boat to board the Danish schooner, though 
it had been checked by our rapid run along the Isle of Wight, 
and the swiftly-passing diorama of so many picturesque 
objects, had not been forgotten. No sooner were we safe 
at anchor than we began to follow the anxious looks of the 
pilot in quest of his cutter, which was out of time. The indi- 
vidual who embarked alone in the little boat was his brother- 
in-law; these two, with another brother, were joined in 
company, owning the little craft among them. We were 
pleased soon after to see her heave in sight, coming down 
from Cowes. As she came on, however, the pilot's anxiety 
was greatly excited in discovering, as she sheered a little, 
that the boat which'she towed astern was not the same one 
in which his brother-in-law had embarked; it was a new 
one, not yet painted black, as all beats on the coasts of the 



THE CHANNEL. 



27 



United Kingdom are required to be, in order to distinguish 
them from those of the preventive service, which alone arc 
painted white. He saw at once that the little boat must 
have been lost, and that the cutter had stopped at Cowes 
for a spare one kept there in readiness. The painful question 
now occurred, what had become of the hardy fellow who 
had ventured forth in her? Had he been passed without 
being seen by the cutter, and left to exhaust his strength at 
the oars ki delaying the moment when the wind and tide 
would inevitably carry him among the breakers ; or had he 
been run down in the dangerous attempt to pick him up 
made by the single individual left alone to manage so large 
a vessel in a gale of wind ? The fears of the pilot, in which 
we anxiously sympathized, were soon relieved, by finding, 
as the cutter came nearer, that the man was upon her deck, 
all life, and in possession of the helm. Passing under our 
stern he hailed his companion, to say that they had taken 
the boat in tow, and that she had been swamped in the 
breakers, as they crossedthe Bridge. This was a loss of 
four or five pounds to these poor fellows, which would 
swallow up nearly the whole gains of piloting our ship in. 

The ship being now snug, and the work done, the sailors 
mustered round their supper on the forecastle, having pre- 
viously been comforted with each a wine-glassful of rum 
dispensed to them at the mainmast by the second steward, 
while we were summoned to discuss a saddle of mutton, 
with sundry other good things, in the more comfortable, 
though perhaps not happier, sanctuary of the cabin. The 
conversation naturally turned upon the lost boat, for which 
we all agreed that the Dane should, injustice, be made to 
pay. The pilot said that all that could be got from him, 
when there was time to look to the matter, was half pilotage 
for following us in. He seemed to take the matter very 



28 



THE CHANNEL. 



philosophically : " There, must be losses as well as gains, 
my masters, in all trades." He added, that the loss of a 
boat was a frequent occurrence to them, with now and then 
a man ; and sometimes a cutler was lost with all on board. 
They had lost as many as three small boats in one winter. 



CHAPTER III. 



PORSTMOUTH. 

Sail to Porstmouth in the Navarin — Sensations of Landing — A Stage- 
coach — Dress and Appearance of the population — Buildings and Shops 
— The invisible Dock-yard — Sailors on Shore — English Steamers — A 
Family Group. 

On the morning after our arrival at Portsmouth the wea- 
ther had greatly moderated; but as the distance of the 
Thames was only about one hundred and twenty miles, the 
captain determined not to sail until the evening, so as to have 
daylight in passing that part of the coast from Dungeness 
to Margate, where there are some dangers to be avoided, 
and where daylight is necessary to procure a pilot. 

As we had the whole day before us, the captain proposed 
a visit to the shore ; and we straightway embarked in the 
Navarin, under the guidance of the doughty Sam, whose 
energies, rising as the gale abated, were now quite equal to 
the management of his craft. He had shaken out all his 
reefs, set his largest jib, fidded his topmast, and carried the 
American ensign with a swagger at the truck, instead of 
hanging it with a depressed and dish-cloth air in the rigging. 

The old sailor, to whom he had very willingly abandoned 



3U 



PORTSMOUTH. 



the honour and responsibility of command the day before, 
as he escaped from the salt spray and the sallies of the main- 
boom to the protection of the companion-way, was now 
again degraded to the condition of a foremast hand, and 
turned upon the forecastle, while the youthful skipper, 
perched upon his high -heeled boots, grasped the helm with a 
knowing cock of the eye, and issued his commands with the 
authoritative air of a newly-caught midshipman. 

A quick and pleasant sail brought us under the fortified 
point of land which forms the entrance to the beautiful 
harbour of Portsmouth. Here a number of convicts were 
at work; many of them wearing chains, which clanked as 
they moved along. The entrance to the harbour being 
quite narrow, offered a very lively scene; small steamers 
were arriving and departing ; boats were crossing from the 
town to Gosport with passengers ; square-rigged and smaller 
vessels were entering or beating out ; while in the harbour 
above lay several cruisers at their moorings. Among them 
was a stately three-decker, which wore the flag of the admi- 
ral. It was Nelson's ship — the ship which so nobly upheld 
the banner of England at Trafalgar, and bore the worthy 
and well-won name of the Victory. 

We had scarce reached the neighbourhood of the shingle 
beach which forms the landing-place, ere we were sur- 
rounded by watermen anxious to turn an honest penny in 
carrying us ashore. At the beach, another set of worthies 
obsequiously aided us to land, and offered their services in 
transporting our luggage. Neither the captain nor I was in 
a condition to need their services ; but we delivered up to 
their lender mercies our young countryman, who had not 
landed the day before; his luggage was overhauled by the 
Custom-house officer with somewhat less scruple for having 
felt the touch of his silver, and passed from one hand to an- 



PORTSMOUTH 



31 



other until it reached the top of a stage-coach, which was 
waiting for him, and where he hastened to place himself 
also, relieved in a very few minutes of the weight of sundry 
sixpences and shillings, transferred to the greasy pouches 
of watermen, dock-rangers, and coach-porters. Being 
a disinterested witness, and at leisure to observe, I could not 
help smiling at the respectful courtesy with which each 
claimant commended himself to the attentionof the sufferer, 
lifting his hat, and proffering the sententious words, "Wa- 
terman, sir!" "Porter, sir!" "Coach-porter, sir!" and 
contrasting it with the air of well-bred indifference with 
which, when the demand was listened to and the sixpence 
hidden, each turned away in search of other victims. 

A ship careering proudly under a cloud of bellying can- 
vass is a noble object; the ocean, with its vastness,its mono- 
tony, its symmetric boundary, met by the blue dome of the 
overhanging heavens, its unfathomable depths, and the huge 
monsters that alone have penetrated their unrevealed mys- 
teries, is full of sublimity and grandeur. But with what 
rapture do we not ever exchange the ocean, with all its 
sublimity, and the winged messengers by whose aid we 
are able to traverse it, for the firm footing and the more 
varied spectacles of the land I More than a third of my life 
has passed upon the water, and for years together I have 
never slept out of a ship ; yet, after all, the land is the only 
place for life and for enjoyment; but the zest with which 
we regain it can only be appreciated by those who have 
gone forth into the sea in ships ; and they only can under- 
stand the interest and attraction with which the eye reverts 
to a thousand familiar objects. The mariner will bear wit- 
ness with me to the sensation of almost delirious rapture 
with which, after a long voyage, and a familiarity with no 
other odours than those of the sea itself, or the staler exha- 



POKTSMOUTH. 



lations of the ship in which we traverse it, we first, even 
while the land is as yet unseen, snuff the perfumes of mea- 
dows in temperate climes, or the aromatic gales which the 
land-breeze wafts to us from some fair island within the 
tropics. 

We had scarcely landed before our attention was taken 
up by a battalion of foot soldiers, marching down to em- 
bark in small boats for Gosport. Their well-drilled air, the 
high order of their accoutrements, and the gaudy, flamingo- 
like glare of their scarlet coats, with the fluttering of their 
colours, and the clang of the martial music to which they 
marched, all formed a spectacle on which I was for a mo- 
ment arrested to gaze; but, after all, perhaps I was more 
delighted with the appearance of the stage-coach, in which 
my fellow-passengers were just starting for London. The 
neat, graceful, compact form of the pretty toy, the mettled 
and impatient air of the shining and well-groomed horses, 
the high polish of the harness, and admirable order and 
neatness of the whole affair, together with the sately and 
consequential air of the portly and well-muffled coachman, 
as he ascended to his box with the mien of a monarch seat- 
ing himself upon his throne, all delighted me while yet the 
vehicle was in repose. When, however, the guard mounting 
behind called forth the characteristic, "All right!" and the 
stableboys who held the horses had released and abandoned 
them to their impatience, the whip cracked, the wheels 
began to spin round, and the pavements to rattle, while 
the veils of the fair occupants of the top of the coach 
streamed out from the rapid motion, and the whole presented 
an array of excited and happy faces, I thought the scene 
one of the most spirited and striking that it was possible to 
behold ; and the sensation with which I contemplated it 
worth all the musings of sublimity with which, for want of 



PORTSMOUTH 



Something belter, I had fed imagination on the outward 
voyage. 

Leaving the seaside, in the hope of escaping altogether 
for an hour or two from nautical associations, we penetrated 
into the town. In coming from America, the streets looked 
narrow and confined ; the houses low, antiquated, con- 
tracted and ill-built ; and the effects of the sea-coal smoke^ 
in connexion with an atmosphere in itself covered and 
overcast, was gloomy and depressing, aiding the influences 
of a temperature which, though apparently not cold for 
the season, was raw and chilling. The population did not, 
however, seem to suffer in their health, or allow themselves 
to be depressed in spirits by the action of any such causes 
as these. They were ruddy, hale, and robust, and seemed 
very well satisfied with their climate and their condition. 
Many had breeches, stout woollen stockings, and smock- 
frocks; and the variety of their costume was very pleasing 
after the monotony so prevalent in America ; where, bating 
some difference in texture and fashion, — less there owing 
to the comfortable and independent condition of the labour- 
ing classes than in any other country, — all dress as nearly 
as possible in the same way. The women wore cotton 
gowns, gay coloured handkerchiefs, warm cloaks, gipsy 
hats of straw, and stout shoes, with clogs of wood or iron. 
These were country people apparently who had come to 
town with game, vegetables, worsted stockings, and other 
articles, which they were selling in the squares and markets. 
There were, too, a number of French women with eggs, 
who did not seem to be in any particular favour with the 
beldames of the land. Among the people of the better 
orders I fancied that I discovered an air of greater health, 
larger size, fairer and finer complexions, and a less satur - 
nine expression of countenance. Instead of the ease, in 

3 



34 



PORTSMOUTH. 



dependence, and proud carriage of the republic, however, 
their demeanour seemed constrained and formal, as if each 
were acting in imitation of some established model. The 
women had better complexions and a brighter look than 
I hose I had seen as I rode down Broadway to embark; but 
their figures were robust, stalwart, and redundant, with 
large extremities, and a determined and heavy tread ; their 
dress, too, was far less elegant and tasteful, and evinced a 
less happy judgment in the selection and contrast of colours ; 
still it had the appearance of being both appropriate and 
comfortable; and the thick shoes, the heavy shawl, and 
circling boa, seemed much more conformable to right reason 
and the fitness of things than the silks, the lace, and feathers 
of our light and tripping countrywomen. Upon the whole, 
these had a sturdy, wholesome, substantial, enduring, and 
serviceable look, as contradistinguished from the somewhat 
too gossamer forms, the graceful carriage, and distinguished 
air of the American fair. 

As we strolled through the streets, I was struck with the 
extreme neatness of the shops, and, on entering one or two 
to purchase a few trifles, with the address, civility, and 
obligingness of the shopmen; though the conventional elo- 
quence with which they recommended their wares, and 
insisted on their being precisely what the purchaser was in 
need of, however respectful and obsequious, had in it 
something obtrusive and impertinent. I found in England 
that it is not the practice to enter shops, inspect goods, 
ransack shelves, and give much trouble without purchasing, 
as is not unfrequently done in America : a practice which 
argues more forbearance in the shopman than considera- 
tion or sense of good breeding in his lounging and yawning 
visiter. 

The shops here were nearly all open to the air, which 



PORTSMOUTH. 



was an evidence of the mildness of the climate. Another 
point which particularly distinguished them from those of 
America was the frequent occurrence of stalls of butchers, 
fishmongers, and poulterers; which, in America, being all 
collected in the public markets, are here, as on the Continent, 
spread about at intervals, with the same view to the ad- 
vantages of position and the supply of a neighbourhood as 
the shops of grocers or hosiers. Whole sheep and calves 
hang up at the front of the butchers' stalls, considerably 
curtailing the dimensions of side- walks already sufficiently 
narrow ; and parts of dismembered animals, joints, sirloins, 
and the inferior offal that announce the food of the poor, 
were hung about on hooks within doors, or suspended over 
the street. I never any where saw meat so nicely prepared, 
though it looked so preposterously fat and bloated that I 
fancied that the art which is still so extensively practised in 
France is not yet forgotten here, where it was well known 
in those days when the redoubted Talgol was tauntingly 
told that 

u Not all the pride that makes thee swell 
As big as thou dost blow up veal," 

would avail to save him from the ire of Hudibras. Though 
the meat looked coarse and puffy, it seemed to possess the 
rudiments of life and restoration, to judge of its effects upon 
the dispenser of these wares; in almost every case, a hale, 
hearty, rotund, and cheerful-looking personage, in well- 
filled top-boots, neat apparel, and scrupulously clean apron, 
from whose drawing-string depended a shining knife and 
steel. There was something in the portly size, the rosy 
rubicund hue, and the cheerful, whistling, hey-day air of 
each and all of these worthies, which seemed to illustrate 
very conclusively the relative advantages of meat and 

3* 



PORTSMOUTH. 



vegetable diets, A well-drawn figure of one of these 
worthies, and of a lean, threadbare, and attenuated peasant 
of Erin's unhappy isle, would serve as no bad or unfair 
personification of Mr. John Roastbeef and plain Pat 
Potato. 

The fishmongers' stalls also made a very attractive ap- 
pearance. The fish, lobsters, and neatly- washed oysters 
were displayed on clean stone slabs, inclined to the street, 
so as to expose the commodity to the customers, and carry 
off the water with which it was frequently refreshed. The 
poulterers also suspended their wares most temptingly 
within and without their shops. They consisted chiefly of 
hares, partridges, and pheasants with very rich plumage 
and long tail-feathers ; also of venison, turkeys, geese, and 
chickens, prepared for the broach, or partially divested of 
their feathers from the breast and bodies, and left with their 
wings and heads untouched. Having just landed from a 
three weeks' voyage, which had been passed in demolishing, 
and then, to prolong the pleasure, discussing the merits of 
real wild game from a wild country, and of the best flavoured 
poultry and provisions, and which in short had been de- 
voted wholly to gastronomy, 1 did not contemplate the 
spectacle of these edible appliances with all the rapture that 
I might have done in other passages of my life, and at the 
termination of other voyages in far distant seas, where 1 
had been half starved for months together. I could, 
however, well sympathize in the yearning and voracious 
glances with which some young midshipmen, just landed 
from a newly-arrived cruiser, and whose sunburnt coun- 
tenances, contrasting with the light locks of England, pro- 
claimed them wanderers from some torrid clime, eyed these 
treasures of good cheer. They seemed to have but little 
admiration to spare for the fresh and blooming] faces of 



PORTSMOUTH. 



37 



their passing countrywomen ; though this indifference was 
not unlikely to give place to more ardent feelings in their 
subsequent walks, after they should have provided for the 
comfort and refreshment of their inner man at the George 
Inn, which they now entered under the guidance of the 
oldest of the party, round whom the younkers rallied, and 
who seemed chosen to act as commodore in the land 
cruise on which they had so heartily and so adventurously 
set out. 

Strolling along the ramparts of the town, we caught 
some glimpses of the surrounding country. It was Hat and 
monotonous for some miles, until bounded by a line of chalk 
hills of no great height. The whole expanse was divided 
into small fields, carefully separated by hawthorn hedges, 
out of which grew at intervals an occasional elm-tree. 
Some were still green with grass, others elaborately culti- 
vated, and clothed in every direction with white cottages, 
surrounded by stacks of hay and corn, or with tasteful 
villas, of forms as various as individual caprice could 
suggest. 

Though very anxious to see the dock-yard, 1 did not, of 
course, attempt to gain admittance. All persons entering 
it are required to record their names and places of residence 
at the gate ; and foreigners are only allowed the privilege in 
virtue of a specific order from the Admiralty. Such is the 
vigilant yet ineffectual jealousy with which England watches 
over all that pertains to her waning dominion on the ocean ; 
and those wooden walls which extend the arm of her power 
every where to the remotest seas,and display her proud banner 
llauntingly and disdainfully in the eyes of an overawed world. 
If there were any thing new in the science of naval war in 
England, a single month would, in this age of publicity, re 
veal it to the whole world. The power of the British navy 



38 



PORTSMOUTH. 



consists in the vast collection of materials, the number of 
her ships, in the skill and experience of her officers and the 
excellence of her seamen, nurtured in a commercial marine 
which covers every sea . Add to this the vast wealth, the ac- 
cumulated capital, and untold treasures which are the produc- 
tion of previous and still-sustained industry, and which give 
life and energy to her other resources, and we have the real 
causes of England's naval superiority, which does not 
consist in any exclusive ingenuity in the construction and 
equipment of her ships c The foreigner who would steal 
into the Portsmouth dock-yard with any surreptitious pur- 
pose, would probably be found studying the models of the 
President, the Endymion, the Blonde, or some captured 
Spaniard, and not in carrying off any outlines of those 
crazy and dancing cock-boats, in which the forms of 
caiques and polacres, intended to traverse circumscribed 
and sheltered seas, are extended to the largest ships, turned 
out to roll and wallow in the full-grown billows of the 
Atlantic; or attempting to gain a useful idea in construction 
in the building-sheds of a navy which is abandoned to a 
wild spirit of innovation, trampling upon established rules 
and all that experience has consecrated, and which is given 
up to the ruinous guidance of charlatans and yacht- 
fanciers. 

Though we did not enter the dock-yard, we took a look 
at the gate that gives admission to it, and enjoyed a broad- 
side view from the land of the noble old Victory. The 
beach and adjacent streets were crowded with jolly sailors; 
some, just discharged, had yards of ribbon hanging from 
their neat trucks, and fluttering like the pendants of so many 
cruisers, and the gilded chains of one or more watches 
dangling from their tight -set waistbands. These rolled 
over the ground with a glorious swagger; and, in their 



PORTSMOUTH. 



39 



trim gala air, were the very opposites of someolher worthies, 
who, with tattered shirt, bunged-up eyes, and minus the 
jacket which they had doubtless swallowed in the shape of 
rum the day before, were skulking to a house whence de- 
pended a union-jack, to which was posted a handbill, setting 
forth that able seamen were required for His Majesty's 
service. These fellows work hard three years at sea, and 
recreate a week on shore ; if indeed that can be called 
recreation which, if it does not kill them outright, often 
severely injures their health, and leaves them more exhaust- 
ed than months of toil and privation. The different favour 
and estimation in which these poor victims seemed to be 
held by the luring sirens that filled the streets, and ogled or 
frowned from the windows, furnished a true though low- 
lived picture of worldly interestedness. Never before did 
I see such teeming evidences, and so much of the outward 
and visible 6igns of vice, as in these my rambles through 
the streets of Portsmouth. I might perhaps have been led 
to draw conclusions unfavourable to the chastity of England, 
herself so critical, so prudish, and so unforgiving in her es- 
timation of her continental neighbours, had I been in any 
hurry to draw conclusions of any sort ; or, had I not re- 
membered that, besides being a garrison town, this was the 
great rendezvous of the greatest navy in the world, and 
that sailors, somewhat earlier than the days of Horace, were 
already allowed by universal consent to be a wicked and 
perverse race, without morals and without religion. Wo 
is me, brother sailors ! we lead but a dog's life in this world. 
Is it only that we may be the more certain of roasting in 
the next ? 

It would have been too much good fortune to have made 
two passages in one day with Captain Sam in his Navarin. 
There were, however, steamers running at stated hours 



PORTSMOUTH. 



irom ^Portsmouth to Uyde, off which the Hannibal wai? 
lying, and we got on board one of them at two o'clock. 
There is no wharf or pier for the accommodation of pas- 
sengers here. The port is lined with a shingle beach, on 
which the boats are hauled up. The steamer lay at a short 
distance from the shore, stemming the tide, and we reached 
her in a small boat. This steamboat, like all in England, 
was of very different construction from ours in America ; 
most of ours being constructed to run on rivers and in smooth 
water. Here there are no rivers, the harbours are gene- 
rally more or less open, and all boats are occasionally 
exposed to a heavy sea. Hence they are constructed fuller 
and deeper, and have no superstructure of any sort, such 
as pavilion-decks, and roofs for the shelter and comfort of 
passengers. None of their machinery is on deck; and were 
it not for the funnel emitting a black coal-smoke, and the 
paddle-wheels, there would be nothing in the appearance of 
their hulls to distinguish them from sailing-vessels, for they 
are even painted in the same way. The travelling beam 
and piston, which work up and down in sight in our boats, 
here move horizontally below. Perhaps this is one reason 
why the celerity in English steamboats is so inferior to ours ; 
for, extravagant as the disparity may seem, I do not believe 
that the average celerity of all the boats in the United 
Kingdom is more than equal to half that of American 
steamers. In a noble steam ship-of-war recently built in 
England, having two engines of each one hundred and ten 
horses, the length of the stroke is only live feet, while with 
us it would be just double. The disparity in speed is not 
wholly, but indeed very partially, owing to the Hat con- 
struction of our boats, and the different character of the 
navigation. In shoal water it is more difficult to displace 
the resisting iluid, and the velocity is checked, We have 



PORTSMOUTH. 



•II 



steamers built of deeper draught for the navigation of the 
Long Island Sound, one of which, the Lexington, has a 
uniform speed of eighteen statute miles the hour ; and the 
Charleston packets, which are exposed occasionally, in 
passing along the Gulf Stream, to as terrific storms and as 
dangerous seas as any to be encountered on the boisterous 
coasts of the United Kingdom, go at a velocity of from 
twelve to thirteen knots. 

But to return to our little steamer now on her way to 
Hyde, she scuffled along at the rate of six or seven knots. 
She was evidently doing her best to oblige us, and it 
would have been cruel to complain. Though there was no 
gilding, brass, or ornament of any sort about this boat, she 
was scrupulously neat, and the sailors employed about her 
were better clad, and evidently a better class of persons 
than those usually seen in ours. The air being raw and 
chill, I went below to the cabin, which I found exceedingly 
small. Instead of the rich and costly woods, the gilding, 
carving, carpets, and tapestry which are found in most of 
our boats, all was here plain and simple; the joiner's work 
being unadorned, and merely painted white, with an oil- 
cloth, and green cushions of moreen ; here, however, as on 
deck, the cleanliness and order were admirable. 

The little cabin was occupied, as I entered it, by a very 
interesting group, consisting of a young gentleman, and a 
lady of great beauty and elegance, who was evidently his 
wife. Beside her sat a nurse, whose good looks, though 
of a more substantial character, were not without claims to 
admiration, and who was endeavouring to amuse a pretty 
boy of two or three years, and divert his mind from the 
effects of the boat's motion ; in which task she had a most 
useful coadjutor in a little spaniel dog, very prettily spot- 
ted, and with long silken ears. There was an air of mutual 



42 



PORTSMOUTH 



confidence and affection between the happy pair, which 
evinced itself in none of those sickening epithets and mawk- 
ish dalliance which married people not unfrequently in- 
dulge in, for the edification of others whom chance has sent 
as spectators of their exhibition ; but in every quiet look, 
word, and action. Nothing delights me more than the 
spectacle of a happy group thus blessed in the present, and 
with hope to gild each cloud that hangs about the horizon 
of the future. Every thing, indeed, seemed in good keeping 
in this charming living picture, after the manner of Raphael 
The noble, manly, protecting air of the husband ; the grace, 
the delicacy, the soft security and confiding repose of the 
wife; the more solid and substantial charms of the rustic 
fair one; and the innocence of the child, at the age when 
children first begin to have any interest, were all aided by 
the effect of graceful drapery and well-chosen colours. 
To render the scene complete, they were surrounded by a 
thousand little appliances of comfort and luxury, which 
were all called into use in the course of our short voyage 
A neat portfolio was first produced and opened, exhibiting 
the combination of compactness and high finish, which 
luxury and refinement have given rise to among a highly 
civilized people. There was no table in the cabin, but the 
obliging husband contrived to make one of his lap; while 
his wife penned a hasty line to put in the post at Ryde, in 
order to announce a safe arrival to some near friend from 
whom they had recently parted. This care disposed of, a 
basket was produced and unpacked, which was found to 
contain the very opposites of the intellectual contents of the 
portfolio, in the shape of sandwiches done up in white pa- 
per, and an entire roast chicken. Ere they made any inroad 
upon their store of good things, they very politely and cor - 
dially invited me to partake. 



PORTSMOUTH. 



18 



An act of courtesy like this would have been obvious 
enough on the Continent ; and in Spain would surely, under 
like circumstances, have been practised by the humblest 
peasant or muleteer ; but I certainly was not prepared for 
such civility by a slight intercourse with various repulsive 
specimens of English people in my own country and else- 
where. As I had not, however, come to this country armed, 
in imitation of the amiable example of its travellers in 
my own, with a set of opinions to which facts were by some 
means to be accommodated, I very willingly stored up the 
circumstance in my memory as a pleasing incident, which 
I am happy to record. Perhaps the attention may have 
been unusual, and owing to my removing my hat and bow- 
ing as 1 entered an apartment, of which, though public 
for all the passengers, they were the only occupants, having 
rendered it probable that I was a foreigner. At any rate, 
I learned on this occasion one lesson of national manners, 
which was confirmed by all my subsequent experience. 
This was, the sensible custom of English people, of going 
always armed with eatables to sustain their energies, and 
keep alive their enthusiasm. The pleasures and excite- 
ment of a journey, the rapture which is enkindled by the 
contemplation of fine scenery, or the ecstasy with which the 
soul is moved by the triumphs of music at a festival or an 
oratorio, are never in England allowed to be diminished by 
the inward discomfort of an empty stomach. There is a 
sympathy of feeling on this subject throughout the land ; and 
never shall I forget the loud and enthusiastic burst of loy- 
alty with which I once saw King William greeted by an 
overflowing house at Drury-lane, as he accompanied his 
cup of tea by the customary bread and butter, eating, as one 
remarked beside me, exactly like a common person. 

But to return to our little steam-boat; she ere long stop- 



1 1 



PORTSMOUTH. 



ped under the stei n of the Hannibal. A boat came from 
the ship to take us alongside; and, soon after, we were 
seated at dinner, when I endeavoured, as well as I could, 
to do justice to the good cheer of the captain's table, and 
imitate the energetic attacks of my late friendly companions 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE KENTISH COAST. 

Leave Portsmouth — Beacby Head — Dunge Ness — Light-house Sinecures 
— River Pilot — Shipwrecks — Appearance of the Coast — Hythe — Dover 
— Cinque Ports — The Downs — Kentish Wreckers. 

Towards sundown we weighed anchor and stood to sea, 
going out from behind the Isle of Wight by the opposite 
entrance from which we had arrived, in coming from the 
west. We had come in by the Needles, and now passed 
out by St. Helen's. The gale had ceased, and though the 
sky was still gloomy and overcast, the pilot, and those who 
could judge in an English sense and speak advisedly, pro- 
nounced the weather beautiful. The wind blew gently from 
the south, and we swept quietly along the coast. As the 
day declined, and the darkness spread around, the beau- 
tiful beacon-lights of this admirably marked coast grew 
into distinctness and brilliancy. The salutary care of a go- 
vernment, watchful of the lives and property of its subjects, 
has provided lights at every headland and place of danger. 
These are visible from twenty to thirty miles in fine wea- 
ther, are distinguished by their cofcur, phases, and periods 
of revolution, and have sufficient pcAver to pierce the gloom 
which ordinarily envelops the coast to a distance sufficient 



46 



THE KENTISH COAST. 



to secure the safety of the watchful mariner. Other in- 
termediate points of inferior note, having piers or natural 
► harbours, have beacons of less brilliancy, which are placed 
on the extremity of the moles, and called tidelights ; be- 
cause they are only lit towards high water, when alone it 
is possible to enter. In this way we passed the Owens, 
which mark the existence of a danger ; a brilliant collection 
of gas-lit streets, sloping down a hill side, marked the site 
of Brighton, a city exclusively of the rich, then the resi- 
dence of the court, and the scene of festive revelry ; at 
length the brilliant, meteor-like light of Beachy Head 
blazed up in the direction of our course, to remind me of 
one of the commonest of sea similes, applied equally, in 
narrative, to ships and women — " She loomed like Beachy 
Head in a fog." 

Having walked the deck until a late hour, excited by 
the balminess of the gentle south breeze, the steady and 
quiet motion of the ship, and the bright array of lighthouses, 
beacons, and illuminated cities of Sussex, past which we 
nearly and leisurely glided, I retired at length below, with 
the determination of being out again betimes. The day 
was dawning as I rose, and we were off that southern point 
of the coast of Kent, which, stretching out into a low sandy 
headland, is known by the name of Dunge Ness. Here is 
a very fine light, whose power and brilliancy we could 
still appreciate, though the gathering day had already an- 
nounced the coming of nature's luminary. If, however, it 
were nearly as brilliant as the sun, it was not by any 
means so cheap. I forget, now, how much the Hannibal 
had to pay each voyage for this Dunge Ness light ; but 1 
well remember that she and other ships make up for Mr. 
Coke, of Norfolk, the pfetty purse of four or five thousand 
pounds over and above' the annual expenses of maintaining 
this light. I was told, moreover, that Mr. Coke, whose 



THE KENTISH COAST 



47 



name was familiar to me among the distinguished English- 
men of the day, was an individual of enormous patrimonial 
wealth, and of elevated character, and honourable estima- 
tion in the land. He had repeatedly declined being called 
to the peerage. He was a very great patriot; indeed, he 
owed to his patriotism, that is, if patriotism and whig prin- 
ciples be admitted to be synonymous, the late renewal of 
the charter from Trinity House, or from whencesoever it 
came, securing to him this rich sinecure, chargeable to the 
commerce of the country, for other ten years. I think, in 
declining to be called My Lord, Mr. Coke might very con- 
sistently have put back this dishonourable subsidy, the want 
of which to him would have involved the abridgment of no 
luxury, but which is felt oppressively as added to the bur- 
dens of merchants, ship-owners, and masters, toiling, eco- 
nomizing, and exposing themselves to become owners 
also. 

Daniel O'Connell — by whom, however, I am by no 
means disposed to swear — being without fortune, has de- 
voted those rare talents and acquirements, and that brilliant 
eloquence, which might have conducted to the highest 
honours and unbounded wealth, to the restless and un- 
wearying advocacy of Ireland's«wrongs. For these services 
he receives, as a voluntary offering from his countrymen, 
such sums as his professional labours would make his own 
with less vexation at the bar, or the tithe of what he might 
throw away in patronage upon his family, had his vocation 
been for office. For the receipt of this voluntary tribute 
he is each day proclaimed infamous to the world, branded 
as a selfish and sordid spirit, and the most wretched of 
beggarmen. Mr. Coke, of Holkham, being the hereditary 
possessor of unmeasured acres, extorts compulsorily four 
thousand pounds from ship-owners, shippers, and smack 
masters, which the legislative obliquities of the land permit 



4S 



THE KENTISH COAST. 



him to levy, and for which he renders no service in return. 
Yet the world's estimation, denouncing O'Connell as in- 
famous, proclaims him just, generous, and a patriot. 

It so chanced that the first English newspaper which 
came in my way contained some evidence, given by a dis- 
tinguished merchant before a committee of the House of 
Commons, on the depressed condition of the shipping 
interest. To enforce his opinion, he stated, that if any 
person would place at his disposal a thoroughly equipped 
ship, without the payment of any consideration, and simply 
upon the condition of his keeping her in repair, he would 
not consent to sail her in times like the present. The 
individual was upon oath; perhaps he had been broken in 
by swearingto manifests At any rate I did not believe him, 
for I read his evidence soon after it was given, in working 
up the Thames, and surrounded by fleets of ships and 
teeming indications of a not motiveless or unprofitable 
activity. Though I did not believe the case to be so extreme 
a one, yet I placed the circumstance beside the other of 
the Dunge Ness light, and could not help wondering that 
a country, which has become great by freedom and by 
commerce, should permit the sources of its power to be 
thus obstructed and preyed 5 upon. — The day now grew 
apace. The chalky hills of the interior grew into distinct- 
ness, and many towns scattered along the coast testified to 
the populousness of this maritime county. There were 
fleets of outward-bound vessels anchored under the land, 
waiting a wind to get to the westward. The sky, though 
overcast, did not indicate rain or inclement weather; the 
water, being free from swell and of a very bright green, 
was stirred into miniature billows by the growing breeze. 
Here the Thames pilots cruise for the inward-bound from 
the Atlantic. We soon saw one, having her signal up and 
standing towards us. She was a small cutter of thirty or 



THE KENTISH COAST. 



49 



forty tons, under reefed sails. We found that she had 
been out a week, and of course had encountered the tre- 
mendous gale we had rode out under the Isle of Wight. 
Though clumsy, awkward, and apparently unmanageable, 
these cutters must certainly be excellent sea-boats to live in 
such weather. The boat's crew of four which pulled the 
boat alongside were a very hardy weather-beaten set ; 
their mode of life exposes them to frequent storms and rain, 
and the perpetual drenching of the salt spray; they were, 
however, most comfortably clad in suits of tarpaulin coal- 
heavers' hats, huge boots, and canvass petticoats. The pilot 
was a pursy little man, with a braggadocio air and a nautical 
swagger. He had a copper nose and a red eye, that showed 
that he knew how to empty a bottle. He fully proved this 
ere we reached Gravesend, as well as that, both as a pilot 
and a seaman, he was very competent to the discharge of 
his duty. The boat's crew, except one, followed him up, 
besieged the cook for raw pork, levied a bottle of rum, and 
contrived to exact an extra glass each before their departure. 

During breakfast the pilot regaled us with an account of 
some of the wrecks, attended with loss of life, which had 
occurred since the last voyage of the Hannibal. Quite re- 
cently, a Quebec ship had been cast ashore near Calais, and 
lost nearly the whole of her crew. The pilot expatiated 
on the inhumanity of the French in not making greater ef- 
forts to save them. By his own admission, however, those 
who reached the land had been nursed with the greatest 
kindness; and I not long after saw an account of a most 
singular act of hardihood and courage of some French 
fishermen, in saving the crew of an English vessel, at the 
great risk of their own lives, and under the impulse of hu- 
mane feelings alone. Their heroism was commended in 
all the English papers, and the bounty of the sovereign was 
most becomingly bestowed upon them. The vituperation 



. 



THE KENTISH COAST. 



of the pilot was only the effect of the national antipathy, still 
existing in all its force among the amphibious inhabitants 
of the opposite coasts. 

Our course lay very close to the coast. It blew fresh 
immediately along it, and we drove rapidly before the wind 
with square yards. After breakfast we were opposite to 
Hythe. This was the native place and the chosen retire- 
ment of our worthy fellow- passenger, the half-pay captain. 
He had expressed the hope the day before, that some boat 
would be off as we passed the town, and that he should 
be able to get on shore in time to go to church with his wife 
and little ones. I found the captain anxiously looking with 
the glass, in the hope of seeing some one of the objects of 
his affection. He pointed out to me his abode; a stone 
house, pleasingly situated on a terrace of the sloping cliff 
One of the gables was overrun with an evergreen creeper, 
and it had an inviting, habitable look, as of a place to which 
one might become attached, and be satisfied to live in for 
ever. At no great distance stood the village church; a ve- 
nerable and time-honoured pile, of various architecture, 
the patchwork combinations of remote ages. Its clear and 
clarion-like bell was sending over down and cliff the 
preliminary notes of invitation to the faithful to bestir 
themselves, put on their gayest holy day suits, and 
repair to take part in the religious offices of the day. On the 
naked downs surrounding the town, flocks and herds were 
placidly grazing on the still partially-verdant herbage. 
Occasionally a cow, standing on the top of the ridge, was 
brought out through the half-misty sky in strong relief, so 
as to seem of preternatural dimensions. A gentleman on 
horseback, and followed by his dog, was picking his way 
across the fields in the direction of the village. 

The captain seemed very full of the antiquities of his little 
town, a place indeed not unknown to fame; and which, 



THE KENTISH COAST- 



5 1 



being one of the Cinque Ports, makes no inconsiderable 
figure in the early naval history of England. He gave me a 
full account, pointing too to the localities, of a very dreadful 
battle fought here against an army of invading Danes; who, 
having effected a landing, were defeated after terrible efforts, 
and put to the sword. A huge vault beneath the chancel 
of the church, he said, was filled with the bones of the slain 
in this day of peril. 

It blew fresh, and no boat came off to us. I really sym- 
pathized in the disappointment of the veteran captain, when 
he found himself carried past his house at the distance of 
not more than a quarter of an hour's sharp walking, such 
as, in his vexation and impatience, he was wasting on the 
deck of the Hannibal. Each familiar object was plain in 
view; he descanted upon the healthfulness of the situation: 
the commanding nature of the view; the agreeable walks: 
and the array of comforts within which he had intrenched 
himself in his smiling habitation. To me the place appeared 
full of attraction, though unhallowed by the consecrating 
power of past association. And yet he was preparing to 
leave this abode, so endeared to him, for a new and distant 
home in a wild country. He had bought land in Canada, 
and had come out for his family. His reasons for emi- 
gration were that his children were growing up; though 
he had the means of living comfortably, yet he had no 
money to buy his sons commissions in the army, or titled 
relations to gain them preferment in the church; his por- 
tionless daughters, too, must remain unmarried. I could 
not help agitating the question in my mind whether, after 
balancing the pleasures and perplexities of his condition, 
he had really augmented by marriage the aggregate of his 
happiness. Had he lived single, he might have ended his 
days in tranquillity amid the scenes which had met his ear- 
liest gaze. He might have had forever beside him some trusty 



52 



THE KENTISH COAST. 



domestic, disabled, like himself, in the service of old England, 
and who might now share his pleasures as he had shared 
his whilome toils. In short, instead of the unprofitable em- 
ployment of bringing children into the world without know 
ing how they were to fight their way through it, he might 
have enacted again the old but true story of my Uncle Toby 
and the Corporal, fighting battles and taking towns to the 
end of life's chapter. There was, however, an essential 
difference between the two parallel cases, consisting chiefly 
in the nature of the wounds. 

Folkstone, with its steep-gabled houses of red or gray 
sandstone, and its shining slate roofs, soon came and went 
like Hythe. Ere long we were in sight of Shakspeare's 
Cliff, so called because the poet has made them his own 
in those undying lines with which the world is familiar. 
They seemed to me to be not less than five hundred 
feet in height, and nearly perpendicular, having been un- 
dermined and crumbled by the attacks of the sea. The 
chalky soil was naked and revealed, being of a dingy white, 
save in partial spots where it was streaked with clay. 
Farther to the north frowned another precipitous range ol 
equal boldness, the two being separated by a deep ravine. 
On this last cliff stood toppling the antique towers of the 
famous old castle of Dover, whose earliest foundation is 
ascribed to Julius Caesar, and which is familiar to childish 
recollection as the depository of that famous gun, known as 
Queen Elizabeth's pocket-pistol, which, as nursery-maids 
do say, will carry a ball across twenty miles of channel, to 
the land of frogs and Frenchmen. Beneath the embattled 
walls, the face of the cliff is seen to be singularly perforated 
with casemates and lodgments for the garrison, being lit 
from the side of the precipice. Far below, partly situated 
on the beach at the foot of these cliffs, which semicircularly 
surround it, partly straggling up the valley that divides them, 



Tilt KENTISH COAST 



lies the town of Dover, so important as being the nearest 
port to France ; and the point whence, in winter, all the in- 
tercourse between the two great countries is carried on. It 
is built of dark stone, with slate roofs, and has the same 
lugubrious air with the other towns that I had seen. There 
is an unsafe natural roadstead here ; but the harbour itself 
is wholly artificial, being excavated from the soil, and having 
massive stone piers running out into the sea, with a beacon- 
light at the extremity. Here vessels of an easy draught of 
water may enter when the tide is in, the receding tide leav- 
ing them again, with the whole harbour, to the dominion 
of the land. The masts of many vessels, and the chimneys 
of steamers, mingled with the dark buildings. It was now 
eleven o'clock, the church-bells were pealing merrily, groups 
of gaily-dressed inhabitants were steering in a continuous 
current to the church, while the more ungodly strolled 
towards the pier. The streamers were fluttering gaily from 
all the vessels in the harbour ; and high over cliff and 
battlement hung out the flag of England, in salutation of the 
Sabbath. 

Presently we rounded the South Foreland, losing sight 
of Dover, and bore away along the coast due north for the 
bold point of the North Foreland, which forms the south- 
eastern boundary of the estuary of the Thames. The 
Downs were crowded with ships; and various towns were 
indistinctly seen along the shore through the misty veil, 
which, notwithstanding the beauty of the day, circumscribed 
the view in all directions, and which I afterward found was 
a perpetual attribute of the climate. Among the chief of 
these towns were Deal, Sandwich, and Ramsgate. Walmer 
Castle was also pointed out to me at no great distance from 
Deal. It is, and has been, from time immemorial, the 
residence of the Lord-warden of the Cinque Ports, a 
singular association, which had its origin in the early ages 



THE KENTISH COAST. 



of the monarchy, and which was the embryo from which 
has grown the British navy. It was very useful to England 
at the time of its creation, and is now kept alive because it 
is useful to one individual, who receives a salary of some 
thousand pounds, levied, like Mr. Coke's sinecure, on the 
commerce of the country. At the present moment, however, 
the outrage against justice is not so crying as it might be. 
the incumbent having served and honoured his country 
beyond any other living Englishman, he being no other 
than the Duke of Wellington. 

The well-known Downs, which make so frequent and so 
conspicuous a figure in the naval annals of England, and 
are associated with the names of all her heroes from Raleigh 
to Nelson, are a continuous bank, which extend some eight 
miles along the coast, and nearly as far outwards, from 
Deal to the Goodwin Sands. The holding-ground is good, 
but the situation is wholly exposed to all winds, except 
those from the west. Here vessels bound to the Atlantic 
ride at anchor, in preparation for a wind which may enable 
them to get to sea. When the wind comes in strong from 
the south, they sometimes weigh, and run behind the North 
Foreland for a lee, and anchor off Margate. At other 
times they get adrift, losing their anchors and cables, and 
have to run for the North Sea; or, to avoid the danger of 
approaching the coast again without ground-tackle, they 
push for the pier of Ramsgate, and dash in among the 
shipping at a venture. This, however, can only be attempted 
when the tide is in. 

I looked with no little interest to the lightboat, which was 
the gloomy monitor to warn the mariner from Goodwin 
Sands ; a name which awakened in my mind a thousand 
disastrous recollections. The first stroke on these shoals 
often suffices to rend the stoutest keel; the quicksands enter 
instantly, and, ere long, all is swallowed to the truck. The 



THE KENTISH COAST. 



pilot related the fate of the Houglie Castle Indiaman, as a 
warning to all refractory captains, and as a sea-moral never 
to be forgotten. She was running for the Downs or Mar- 
gate, I forget which, when a pilot hailed her captain, and 
offered to bring him td anchor for twenty guineas. The 
charge was exorbitant, and the captain commended him to 
the devil; the pilot sheered off, bidding him carry his own 
errand. She was under close-reefed topsails, for it blew a 
gale. Lord Liverpool, who was on a visit to Walmer 
Castle, happened to be watching her with a telescope when 
she struck. She gave three sallies from side to side, and 
disappeared entirely, ship, crew, passengers, all to her very 
mastheads. 

There was a very large fleet riding in the Downs ; their 
cables were straining, and they were plunging rather 
uneasily, though there was little swell, and dashing the 
water far from their bows. They had been collecting here 
for several weeks and were likely to remain as much 
longer; indeed, they actually did remain several months. 
One of the New-York packets, which, by superior sailing 
and great exertion, had got to sea shortly previous to this 
time, actually made her passage home and returned again, 
finding still in the Downs an Indiaman, and several other 
ships that had sailed in company with her from London. 
We exchanged the salute of colours with one unhappy 
American, whose patience was likely to be well tried. Our 
passage through this fleet was most exhilarating. The 
wind and tide were strongly with us, and we fairly flew 
before them. No pity for the wind-bound qualified our 
delight; for nothing can equal the selfish gratification with 
which a sailor glories in the monopoly of a staggering 
breeze. His own happiness were incomplete without the 
contrasting misery of others; besides, he is unwilling that 
the wind should blow the other way, lest it should exhaust 



56 



THE KENTISH COAST. 



itself before he is ready to have the benefit of it on the 
homeward voyage. 

There was a vast deal of passing to and fro in boats, to 
alleviate the condition of the windbound, and, for a con 
sideration, to carry to these the consolations of the land ; 
newspapers, vegetables, beef and mutton, bottles of rum, 
and now and then, a tearful, tender Susan, to ask if her 
sweet William sailed among the crew. The supply of the 
ships in the Downs is the great support of Deal. Their 
boats are famous for their speed, lightness, and safeness ; 
and their oarsmen are no doubt the most skilful and hardy 
in the world. They think nothing of their own lives or ot 
the pockets of other people. The habit of risking every 
thing to gain every thing makes them insatiably greedy. 
Their extortion for the slightest services is incredible. They 
are in league with the ship-chandlers on shore, and aid in 
extracting enormous prices from vessels requiring cables 
and anchors. The most delightful weather for them is a 
gale of wind, and a hurricane they deem the very smile of 
nature. A distressed vessel is the most pleasing object 
that their eye can rest on, and a wreck is a thing altogether 
lovely. Brave, active, skilful, they must ever furnish ex- 
cellent recruits for the navy; reckless, turbulent, indo- 
mitable, if a new Jack Cade were to rise up, he would do 
well to follow the example of his predecessor, and unfurl 
his banner among the men of Kent. 



* 



CHAPTER V. 



THE THAMES. 

F,nglisii Coasting Craft — French Fishermen— Ramsgate and Margate — 
Kentish Watermen — Tales of Shipwreck — The Convict Ship — Dangers 
of the Thames — Navigation of the River — The Nore — Approach to 
Gravesend — Leave the Hannibal. 

One of the most obvious comparisons which rises in the 
mind of an American in approaching the coasts of Europe, 
is suggested by the wide difference between the coasting 
vessels he now sees around him and those he left on his 
own. He looks with wonder and derision at the shapeless 
and lumbering forms of cutters, ketches, and galiots, with 
their sails often tanned and painted; and contrasts their 
heavy, sluggish movements with the bounding, sprightly 
air of the small craft of his own country. He recals to his 
recollection the proud majestic sloop, with her towering 
mainsail of white canvass, as large as that of a first-rate; 
the rakish fishing-smack, rising over the curling waves with 
the grace of a bonila; the brigantine and the pettiauger; 
but, most of all, his imagination reverts to the pilot-boat 
which bore back his last adieus, haply, as in our own case, 
the fleet and sylphlike Trimmer; her low hull, her graceful 



58 



THE THAMES. 



curve, which might be adopted as the true standard of inc- 
line of beauty; her raking masts, her sails, white, tapering, 
and cut with admirable precision ; her matchless speed and 
lightness, and the docility, ease, and grace of every flexible 
movement, all proclaim her the Venus of the seas. She is, 
to the same class of vessels in England, what the dolphin 
is to the shapeless skate and the bloated toad-fish ; what 
one of our airy flutterers in Broadway is to tli£ emigrant 
peasant-woman beside her, with uncompassed waist, pro- 
jecting elbows, high quarter-deck, straddling steps, and 
iron-shod hoofs ; light, easy, and Corinthian — a thing of 
life; she is among ships precisely what Taglioni is among 
women. 

Among the small craft by which we were now sur- 
rounded, 1 was particularly struck by a French fishing- 
boat, which came very near me. It was short, broad, and 
very deep, and entirely open to the sea; one large mast 
rose in the bows, to which a lug-sail was hoisted ; there 
was a small jigger-mast abaft, and a gallows beside it on 
which to lower the mainmast in pulling to windward, 
or to purdell the sail over ii in port, to make a roof for the 
shelter of the crew. She was rendered more uncouth by 
being daubed outside with pitcL, save where Boulogne, with 
her number, was written ; and by her jib and jigger, being 
tanned of a deep red colour. The crew were variously 
clad in tarpaulin jackets and trousers, or petticoats and 
fishermen's boots : and had on red woollen caps or coal- 
heavers' hats. At the helm, which was the rib of some 
wrecked boat about the size of his own, sat a veteran fisher- 
man, heedlessly grasping the ominous relic. Me strongly 
reminded me of an old sea lion, which I once saw on a 
desert rock, giving the law to a family of seals, of which he 
was the patriarch. As I gazed on the uncouth boat and 
her equally uncouth inmates, I half fancied her some 



THE THAMES. 



59 



strange sea- opossum, with its young ones in its belly. Like 
them, doubtless, were those Norsemen and sea-kings of old, 
their actual ancestors, who put forth in open cockles such 
as these to overrun the shores of Europe and subjugate 
kingdoms. 

Notwithstanding the rude and lumbering appearance of 
this boat, she sailed well. The pilot told me that when at 
anchor on the coast, they make a tent of the sail and sleep 
under it; and at all other times they are completely exposed 
to spray and rain by day and night. Hardly as these poor 
fellows earn their existence, they are yet the objects of much 
envy. I gathered from the pilot, who did not seem to like 
them, that the English fishermen complain much of their 
fishing on the English coast. They find fault with the number 
of men which they carry, which deters them from falling on 
board, beating them, and plundering their fish. They have 
recently petitioned Parliament to protect their invaded in- 
terests. If, however, a gale drives the Frenchmen on shore, 
they take the law into their own hands, and plunder and 
maltreat them without mercy. The poor Frenchmen steal 
like culprits along the coast, but rarely venturing to land to 
buy a few loaves of bread, which, with dry herrings and 
cheese, compose their food. Upon the whole, their life 
offers only one extended scene of danger and privation ; 
passed as it is in contending in open boats with the almost 
perpetual rains, and the frightful squalls and hurricanes of 
this inclement coast, with the additional danger of being 
each night exposed to be run down in the Channel by the 
thousand keels that plough it unceasingly. I remember 
reading the next year, soon after the commencement of the 
herring season, that in Boulogne alone three hundred child- 
ren of fishermen were already fatherless. 

As we passed Ramsgate I was attracted by the noble ap- 
pearance of its pier, which is one of the most celebrated of 



f»() 



THE THAMES. 



the great works of this description in England. It con- 
stitutes a harbour here, where one is much needed, into 
which vessels may run, if the tide be in, after partinga cable 
in the Downs. In a late gale, the pilot had seen a Deal 
boat board a Dutch West Indiaman, sugar-laden, which had 
thus broken adrift from the Downs. They undertook to 
run her into Ramsgate; but, dropping to leeward, came full 
against the pier, stove her bows in, and made switchel of 
the whole harbour. Ramsgate is a famous watering-place ; 
and, being at so convenient a distance from London, is 
much frequented by its citizens during the bathing season. 

Having doubled the bold promontory of the North Fore- 
land, we hauled our wind up the river, and soon after 
clewed up and anchored off Margate to wait for the morn- 
ing's tide. Here also was a jetty running far into the sea, 
with a basin for small vessels, and a beaconlight. Though 
Margate was quite deserted now, the pilot told us that in 
summer it was thronged with cockneys ; being in the river, 
they can reach it quicker than Ramsgate, and with less 
danger of getting sick in rounding the Foreland. They 
came here, he said, to eat fresher fish than Rillingsgate 
affords, and take the sea " hair" into their coal-smoked and 
leathern lungs. 

We had scarcely anchored ere one of those neat four- 
oared boats, like those of Deal, shot out from the pier of 
Margate, and sped quickly for us under her lug-sail. As 
the half-pay captain was very anxious to get quickly on 
shore, in the hope of reaching his home that night, for we 
were only five-and-twenty miles from Hythe, he was de- 
lighted to see this boat come to us. I was very much amused, 
however, at the air of indifference he assumed as the boatman 
came over the side, lest they should discover his wish. They 
began by offering the captain a paper; and asking in suffi- 
ciently bad English, if they could be of any use; and whether 



THE THAMES 



Gl 



he had any passengers to land, lie answered, that his 
passengers all liked the ship so well, that they were lot- 
finishing the vogage with him ; and, besides, there was every 
prospect of a fine wind the next day. The boatmen were 
all unanimous in prognosticating a wild night, and advised 
the passengers by all means to get their land tacks on board. 
They would land as many of us as chose to go at ten 
shillings a head. The captain, who seemed to understand 
these amphibious worthies perfectly, then hinted, that pos- 
sibly one of his passengers might be disposed to go, if he 
could be taken on shore quickly and in a dry stale; and the 
veteran, delighted to agree to terms so very moderate, com- 
pared to what would have been extracted from him had his 
eagerness been known, hastened to collect his luggage and 
take leave of us. The captain then bargained with the 
boatmen to bring us the papers in the morning, and come 
off to aid us in getting under weigh. 

After dinner our pilot, who had become warm and elo- 
quent from the effect of his potations, launched forth into 
the relation of the wild adventures of his life of peril and 
hardihood. I, for one, was an attentive listener to all these 
tales of danger, narrated with the life and spirit of one 
who was telling what he had not only seen, but been part 
of. He recounted how, when the Juliana was lost on the 
Kentish Knock, two men only escaped, on a raft, hastily 
prepared, of oars ; he had been running past the Galloper 
the next morning, looking to see if there were any thing to 
be picked up, and discovered these two sailors ; one of them 
was already dead, the other in the last state of exhaustion. 
When last seen, the captain of the lost ship was looking 
mournfully from the quarter-gallery window, as she lay 
over on her side. 

It was only on the first day of the previous September 
that he had himself drifted from Margate roads, in a Quebec 



THE THAMES. 



ship, and, after loss of sails, got on shore near Calais, 
where the greater part of the crew were drowned in the 
effort to reach the shore in the boat, and himself and few 
others only were saved, after undergoing incredible hard- 
ships. It was also in that same gale and on the same day 
that the Amphitrite was wrecked. She was bound to Botany 
Bay, laden with convicts, and was stranded near Boulogne. 
A fisherman and pilot most courageously swam off and got 
a rope from her, and returned with it to the land. The boat 
too was got out, and the convicts were about to be unironed 
and released from their cells under deck, by order of the 
surgeon having charge of them, when the surgeon's wife 
prevented it, and threw difficulty in the way of the arrange- 
ment, by positively refusing to go in the same boat with 
them. Meantime the favourable moment for escape went 
by. The tide rose ; the waves dashed against the ship, and 
entered her riven sides; the shrieks and curses of the con- 
victs a while rose high above the storm ; ere long they were 
hushed in death. The ship was overpowered and driven 
in pieces by the waves. Of that fated crew, the boatswain 
and two seamen alone escaped to relate how horrible had 
been the scene. The pilot and the fisherman were re- 
warded by the generous liberality of the English, ever ready 
to kindle at the relation of a deed of heroism and humanity. 
Subscriptions were raised for them in London. The English 
king made them pensioners of the state, and the French one 
bestowed upon them the more characteristic and more 
economical reward of the ribbon of the Legion of Honour. 
The whole of these unhappy individuals, to the number of 
a hundred or more — I do not remember how many — lost 
their lives through the absurd scruples of a single female; 
a disaster which could only have been occasioned by that 
peculiar sort of personage, an Englishwoman of what is 
called the middling class. 



THE THAMES. 



63 



1 dreamt that night of storms, of wrecks, and the struggles 
of drowning men. But the morning, notwithstanding the 
prognostics of the watermen, dawned auspiciously. The 
wind was still at west, ; 'owing nearly down the river; but 
the weather was fine, and the breeze just suited to work 
briskly. We got our anchor, and, running seaward to 
enter the channel, commenced beating up, having the first 
of the flood tide. The estuary of the Thames is a vast bay, 
about forty miles across, and having an open, fine appear- 
ance, in an ordinal y map. But when seen in the nicer 
delineation of the mariner's chart, it presents a frightful col- 
lection of banks, shoals, and dangers, which the tide reveals 
and makes bare at low w?!cr, and which at other times are 
only distinguished by the position of buoys of various co- 
lours; for the shore on either hand is low, remote, destitute 
of objects suitable for landmarks, and is in most cases 
rendered indistinct, or totally hidden from view, by the 
prevailing obscurity of the atmosphere. The names of 
these shoals are not unfrequently but too well suited to recall 
the tales of shipwreck and dire disaster with which each is 
associated. Among these occur the euphonous and encou- 
raging sounds of the Nob, Brake, Barrow, Kentish Knock, 
Galloper, Black Deeps, Spit, Sunk, and Shipwash. Through 
these the mariner has to make his way, the channel leading 
him not unfrequently over places which are naked, and 
become land at ebb. Such almost every where is the coast 
of England; and the weekly lists of wrecks and tales of 
perished crews during the season of storms, testify to the 
reality of the dangers which beset her seamen. I am par- 
ticularly anxious to impress these facts forcibly upon my 
countrymen, in order that they may appreciate that feeling of 
admiration, not unaccompanied with wonder and with awe, 
with which I was approaching the metropolis of a country, 
which, though inconsiderable in extent, with a climate 



r>4 



THE THAMES 



healthful indeed, yet unsuited to rich productions, and on 
the whole, unpropitious; its coasts, destitute of natural 
harbours, exposed to the inconvenience of excessive tides, 
and devastated by frequent and frightful storms, has yet 
risen by commerce to an eminence of wealth, power and 
consideration, of which the world had hitherto known no 
example. 

The Hannibal, though a dull packet, easily distanced 
every thing we met. A large West Indiaman had started 
an hour before us from Margate ; yet we left her so far 
behind that we were able to save our tide across certain 
flats and get into the main channel, where we would he 
able to avail ourselves of the night's tide. The Indiaman, 
finding that the tide had left her, was obliged to pnt her 
helm up and j run back in search of an anchorage, where 
she would have water enough to float at low tide. While 
she was rapidly disappearing with wind and tide, we came 
to anchor and clewed our sails up, holding all that we had 
made, and in readiness tor the next flood. We had thus 
gained certainly one day on her in the arrival at London, 
possibly several, and perhaps it might make the difference 
to her of a gale of wind and a shipwreck. As it was, the 
ship was in danger. Had we too been suddenly becalmed 
in crossing the flats, we should have remained dry at the 
ebb, and possibly have bilged. The pilots, however, un- 
derstand their situation, and take care not to cross the flats 
unless they are sure of a wind. 

With the evening's tide we were again under weigh. 
Though at a distance from any lights to guide us, and sur- 
rounded by shoals and dangers; not being able, moreover, 
to make a straight course, but being compelled to beat, the 
pilot yet contrived, by his accurate knowledge of the posi- 
tion of the shoals and the depth of the soundings, as well 
as by his exact allowance lor the strength of the tide, so 



TMF. THAMES. 



6! 



nicely to direct the course of the ship, and calculate at all 
times her precise situation, that he actually made two buoys 
which it was all important for us to see, and passed within 
a few feet of them. Yet at this time he was more than 
half drunk. As often as we went about, so often did he 
4t freshen the nip." But it did not seem to stupify, but rather 
to excite him. He was as loquacious as possible, and kept 
perpetually boasting that no other pilot but himself could 
have handled the ship as he had done that night. The 
captain said that there was some truth in what he said; and, 
indeed, there were none but smacks and colliers in sight. 

As we approach the Nore, which, like Spithead, is another 
great roadstead for the fleets of England, and bearing the 
same relation to the neighouring dock-yards of Chatham 
and Sheerness that the latter does to Portsmouth, the chan- 
nel narrowed, and we made our way in the midst of an 
immense fleet of vessels beating up the river like ourselves; 
for here the various channels unite, and vessels, whether 
from the North Sea or the Atlantic, join into one common 
current, and move forward in a vast procession, bearing 
the tribute of every clime to the commercial capital of the 
world. 

The moon was up, and her yellow light gleamed in 
every direction on the white canvass of so many vessels. 
It was beautiful to behold the rapid interlacing of such a 
throng, which seemed at each instant to the eye to be run- 
ning into each other at every intersection, until they were 
again seen to emerge in pride and safety. There is an 
order of the Trinity House, a chartered company to whose 
guardianship the pilotage, buoys, beacons, lights, and va- 
rious other interests of commerce are intrusted, which re- 
quires all vessels, in approaching the river, to get their 
studding-sail booms down, the irons off the yards, and to 
remove every object which could hook or entangle the rig- 



00 



THE THAMES. 



ging of another vessel, in the event of two approaching eacl* 
other so closely. We were often near enough to throw a 
biscuit on board of another vessel during the night ; but we 
avoided any contact, and anchored at midnight off Southgate. 

The pilot now descended to the cabin, and commenced 
an attack on a round of corned beef, w ith plentiful potations 
of brandy. Having the second mate for a listener, he fought 
all the battles of the night over again, and went into the 
particulars of each separate tack, accompanying each, as 
before, with its corresponding libation. I went to sleep 
while they were yet carousing. More than once during the 
night I was awoke by the unquiet pilot, snoring and snort- 
ing like a startled horse. He was called the next morning 
three separate times ere he arose. The scene around us 
at daylight was one of unbounded activity; a hundred or 
more vessels, anchored about us, were hoisting their sails 
with the jovial glee which becomes so lively as the sailor 
nears his port; and the palls of as many windlasses were 
clanging merrily as the anchors tripped. In consequence 
of the delay of the pilot in getting up, the flood tide had made 
strongly ere we got our anchor. The wind, blowing di- 
rectly down the river, drove the ship over her anchor, and 
we lost an hour, besides exhausting the crew, before we 
also were under weigh. Our consorts of the night before 
all left us far behind ; but we were not without company, 
for a new set had come up and gathered round us; for up- 
ward and downward, as far as the eye could penetrate the 
haze, nothing but sheets of canvass were to be seen; the 
fluttering pinions of those winged messengers that minister 
to the greatness of England. 

The day was bright apparently, and the air mild, genial, 
and balmy. No cloud obscured the sky : yet there was a 
pervading and murky haze, which circumscribed the ho- 
rizon in every direction within narrow limits, and through 



THE THAMES. 



07 



which the sun loomed forth portentously. On either hand 
were the low, marshy banks of the river, extending far back 
in monotonous alluvial plains, not unlike the banks of the 
Delaware, or those of the Guadalquivir, below Seville; while 
beyond, a range of somewhat higher land was indistinctly 
seen looming. The haze which overhung the scene was dif- 
ferent from any condition of the atmosphere with which my 
various rambles had brought me acquainted. The captain 
and pilot both said that it was occasioned by the smokes 
of London. We were yet thirty miles off; but the wind 
blew directly from it, and, as I had seen nothing similar, I 
was willing to believe the thing possible. There was little 
encouragement, however, in the thought, that I was about 
to fix my abode, for an indefinite period, in a metropolis 
which was able, at the distance of half a degree, already 
to overshadow every thing with such an aspect of despair. 

We had now left behind us the mouth of the Medwav 
and the vast estuary by which the Thames empties itself 
into the sea. We had entered the river proper, having 
both shores in sight, separated from each other at a dis- 
tance varying from one to two or three miles. Here the 
navigation, though circumscribed, becomes less intricate ; 
the Channel extends*nearly every where from bank to bank, 
and we were able to stretch completely across. The mass 
of vessels became here, of course, more condensed. The 
whole expanse of the river was covered with vessels; ships, 
brigs, schooners, smacks, and cutters; crossing rapidly 
from side to side, and intersecting each other in all direc- 
tions, until the canvass darkened in the distance and blend- 
ed with the mists. I fancied that there might be something 
accidental in so vast a concourse ; but the pilot and captain 
both told me that it is ever the same. By day and by night, 
the ceaseless throngs of arriving and departing vessels still 
pour on. 

5 



THE THAMES 



The wind was too light to enable the outwardbound to 
stem the tide. They lay, with their sails clewed down, at 
their anchors. As we glided by them, some were recog- 
nised as Indiamen, others as limber ships, others as emi- 
grant vessels, transporting to the remote countries of the 
East colonies of Englishmen, destined to adapt to more 
auspicious climes the laws, liberties, and arts of the mother 
country, and haply to keep alive her literature and her 
language, together with the memento of her greatness. 
One large black ship, whose open ports displayed grat- 
ings of stout iron bars, was bound with convicts to Bo- 
tany Bay. She was filled with criminals, of a die of guilt 
and depth of depravity such as England only can pro- 
duce. They were the victims of a system of legislation, 
for centuries in the hands of the rich, and used by them for 
the maintenance of their vantage ground, for the enslave- 
ment of the poor, to secure to them and to their descen- 
dants for ever, whatever profit is evolved by the efforts of 
labour, conceding only to labour the food that sustains it. 
They might be looked on as prisoners of war, captured in 
the battles of that perpetual contest which is kept up be- 
tween property and poverty. They were going into exile to 
the fertile fields of a distant colony, which, however it 
may, and indeed must, become one day great, can never 
wholly escape from the stigma of its origin. 

The steamers alone ascended or descended the river 
without reference to the tide. Some of them, which I was 
told were Scotch and Irish packets, were very large. They 
had light masts and yards, to use in case of accident to their 
machinery at sea, or with a fair wind. Some of them moved 
with considerable velocity. Several smaller ones were em- 
ployed in towing fishing-smacks to town, in order to get 
their fish to market in a fresher condition. We floated by 
the anchored vessels, and by the banks of the river in our 



THF THAMES. 



00 



sidelong course, coming repeatedly near enough to other 
vessels to have jumped on board. One Newcastle brig came 
so close to us in tacking under our lee, that she was obliged 
to let her jib-boom come in, brushing us within a foot. The 
colliers begged for some tobacco. Our sailors immediately 
emptied their hats and shirt bosoms, throwing all they had 
on the brig's forecastle, where there was a lively scramble 
for possession. In consequence of the delay and neglect of 
the pilot in rising, we did not reach Gravesend before the 
tide failed us; had we done so, a steamer would instantly 
have taken us in tow, and we should have reached London 
by the river at an early hour. We should have passed 
Woolwich, which conveys so formidable an idea of Eng- 
land's power; and Greenwich, which is so magnificent a 
monument of her greatness and her generosity. Thus I 
should gradually have approached the metropolis until the 
dome of St. Paul's was discovered, under the canopy of 
eternal smoke by which it is overhung ; and arriving in the 
midst of all the vast movement and activity of the Thames 
and docks adjoining, thence to traverse its whole extent 
westward, have realized that full impression of its wealth 
and magnitude which I was so anxious to receive. As it 
was, the captain and all the passengers were about to leave 
the ship. Though there was no motive of impatience to 
impel me, and I rather clung than otherwise to the ship 
which bore the flag of my country, and where my condi- 
tion had at least been tolerable, yet I did not like to be left 
alone : so I packed up, and bundled my baggage and my- 
self into the boat with the rest. I bade good-by to the mate 
and the pilot, though I did not thank him for disappointing 
me. The captain had promised him a guinea from his 
own pocket, provided we reached Gravesend before the 
tide failed us. He gave it to him, though he had failed 
through his own neglect when the thing had become easy, 



70 



THE THAMES. 



because he had displayed so much skill the night before. 
As 1 went down the side, I did not fail to shake hands with 
an old shipmate of mine, who assisted me over : for his 
lace called to mind happy days passed in a stout frigate in 
more poetic seas, and gay companions with whom I had 
there been associated. 



• 



CHAPTER VI. 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 

Row to Gravesend — Dover Coach — Face of Country — Scenes on the 
Road — Style of Vehicles — Appearance of Population — Management of 
the Coach — Relays of Horses — Conversation — Approach London — 
Shops — Street Rahhle — Westminster. 

We had a long and weary pull from the Hannibal to 
Gravesend. The distance, to be sure, was only four or 
five miles; but the tide was against us, and our boat was 
heavily laden. We kept close to the shore, passing one or 
more black-looking hulks, the corpses of departed cruisers, 
anchored here as coastguard stations, receiving- vessels for 
seamen, or connected with the police of the river. The 
banks were naked, marshy, and very unsightly. One rag- 
ged hungry-looking ruffian, prowling along the shore, stop- 
ped to gaze at us as we passed. There was something lu- 
dicrous in his appearance, and some of our party could not 
suppress a smile. He was very near having the laugh on 
us, however. A case containing a chapeau, which had 
been rather insecurely perched on the top of the luggage 
at the stern of the boat, had got overboard and had quietly 
embarked to make a little voyage of discovery on its own 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



account. Had it been Napoleon's little cocked hat, it could 
not have set out on his travels more ambitiously. The fel- 
low was watching it with the eager spirit of a wrecker, 
when we fortunately discovered it, and saved him the trou- 
ble of putting in his claim for salvage. 

Landing at the custom-house quay, we were conducted 
to the inspector's office, where a very rigorous search took 
place for contraband articles. As the superior himself was 
present, the watermen, his subordinates, prosecuted their 
search with so much fidelity, that we were relieved from 
the necessity of bestowing on them the gratification which, 
in England as in Spain or Italy, is the customary retainer 
for unfaithful services. In France, as in our own country, 
this sort of tampering with government officers is unknown. 
One very happy exemption here, however, is from the 
vexation of passports. It is true that aliens are by law re- 
quired to produce them ; but none were demanded of us. 
We were therefore now free to remove our luggage, and 
go unmolested and unquestioned to whatsoever corner of 
His Majesty's dominions either fancy or fate might lead us. 
We blessed the benignity of the laws, accepted the boon, 
and made the best of our way to the Brunswick Arms. 

I may be mistaken in the name of the inn, but am sure, 
at least , that it stood at the corner of the main street, being 
the highroad from Dover to London. It was a low, anti- 
quated brick building, having the exterior almost hidden 
under the placards of coaches. Within was a bar, with a 
formidable array of decanters and kegs of strong waters, 
duly labelled : and a safe, filled with cold joints of meat ad- 
joining. The presiding deity here was a neat and tidy 
handmaid; plump, buxom, and rosy, just then engaged in 
pumping, with one of a variety of brass handles, a foaming 
tankard of " heavy wet" for a well-known coachman, whose 
arrival a bugle was merrily announcing. Beyond was 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



73 



seen a little parlour, plain though neat, to which a seacoal 
fire imparted an air of cheerfulness; illuminating, as it 
flickered on an engraving, the huge protuding fish-eye, and 
heavy animal-like countenance of the third George of glori- 
ous memory. 

And now the rattling, wheels, the cracking whip, and 
tramping hoof of the Dover coach, called forth inn-keeper, 
bar-maid, stable-boys, mischievous urchins, and all the 
idlers of the neighbourhood. The horses were pulled back 
upon their haunches, and stopped as if shot; the reins were 
thrown down on either side ; the whip given unceremoni- 
ously to the envied occupant of the box-seat ; and the 
cOachman descended, with a princely air of condescension, 
to the dirty level of the earth. A ladder was placed at the 
back of the coach for the accommodation of some pretty 
and neatly-dressed young women, and the guard, with de- 
cent and pious care, preserved their clothes from discom- 
posure as they descended backwards. 

While the captain inquired for places, I read with 
curiosity on the coach the ostentatiously displayed words, 
Plough, Ship, Elephant and Castle, Bull and Mouth, the 
names, as I afterward had occasion to learn, of well-known 
inns with which the coach was In connexion. There were 
just five seats, corresponding exactly with our number; two 
insides and three outs, as the guard hastened to assure us. 
Within the coach was a grave, distinguished-looking gentle- 
man, with a young man, whom I supposed from his atten- 
tion to be his son. Without were a number of young 
bloods, who seemed to have been slightly Frenchified by a 
visit to Paris. Those who had come on were much an- 
noyed at the detention occasioned in waiting for and load- 
ing our luggage. However, five passengers were not to 
be despised ; and there was no use, as the coachman said , 
to leave a couple of pounds on the road for the Nimrod to 



71 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



pick up. The vexation of the passengers was not, however, 
offensively expressed, and they endeavoured to beguile it 
by walking onward in advance, after the coachman, mind- 
ful doubtless of his incoming shillings, had courteously 
apologized to them for the detention. 

I should greatly have preferred occupying the vacant seat 
which fell to our share in front, in order to see something 
of the road, and catch a lively impression of my first 
entry into London; but my English fellow-passenger, the 
graduate of Cambridge, more mindful of his own con- 
venience than of what was due to the rules of good com- 
panionship, or the curiosity of a stranger, hastened to 
possess himself of it without prelude or apology. It only 
remained for me to mount to the less commodious station 
behind, having my back to the horses, and my vision, more- 
over, obscured in that direction by the toppling mass of 
luggage that overhung me. There was something, how- 
ever, redeeming in my situation. Instead of the five bloods 
disfigured by the superadded dandyism ,of London and 
Paris, here were five ladies' maids, not wholly unsophisti- 
cated, as I discovered in the course of the ride, yet far more 
attractive than the dandies. They formed part of the esta- 
blishment of some people of distinction or of wealth, who 
changed horses at an adjoining posthouse, and passed us at 
a gallop while we were taking our seats. All except one 
had beauty of some sort ; and not one of them had that 
curse of scragginess,whicha writer, not less prejudiced than 
clever, ascribes, with what truth I will not pretend to say, 
as an attribute to my country-women. 

It was natural enough that, even in this unhappy predi- 
cament, I should endeavour to reap all the pleasure I 
could from such share of good things as the gods had sent 
me. Accordingly, after carefully reconnoitring the pre- 
mises, I proceeded to plant myself opposite a very pretty 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



75 



fair-haired English girl, with cheeks of carnation, a fresh 
mouth exhibiting an array of strong white teeth, and over- 
hung by a full, pouting lip; while beside me was another 
damsel, not less pretty, though in a different style*, a 
Parisian grisette apparently full of grace and minauderies, 
whose coquettishly-arranged attire, with its well -selected 
colours, evinced her qualifications, as a dame d'atours, to 
preside at the toilet of an English elegante, and correct the 
defective taste of the land. I was preparing, in the spirit 
of bonhommie, to make the best of my situation, when the 
guard desired me, with little ceremony, to shift over, as 
that was his post. I expostulated a moment with him ; but 
he assured me that he must be there to attend the drag, and 
it only remained for me to obey. I had to cross the corres- 
ponding station, at the other side, having for my opponent 
the only ugly female of the five, to whom, I am grieved to 
say, I made no apology for increasing her discomfort, as I 
had before done in the case of her fairer companion. 

My situation here was uncomfortable enough ; if I were 
softly cushioned on one side, this only tended, by the contrast, 
to increase the obduracy of a small iron rod, which served 
as a parapet to protect me from falling off the precipice, 
over which I hung toppling, and against which I was forced 
with a pressure proportioned to the circumstance of my 
being compressed into a space somewhat narrower than 
myself ; the seat having doubtless been contrived to accom- 
modate five men, and there being no greater anatomical 
mistake than to suppose there would be more room because 
four of them were women. As for my back, it was invaded 
by the sharp corner of an iron-bound box ; while, to com- 
plete the catalogue of my discomforts, a row of superin- 
cumbent trunks, whose elevation corresponded with my 
head, were from time to time vigorously pushed against by 
my identical fellow-passenger, who took, unconsciously, 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



this mode of reviving in my mind the sense of his previous 
politeness. 

I was of course in no condition to make observations on 
the picturesque : and I think the reader would be cruel 
indeed were he disposed to exact from me any account of 
this disastrous outset of my English travels. Nevertheless, 
I will tell him how, when all was ready, six spirited horses. ' 
well groomed and richly harnessed, the two leaders being 
conducted by a trim postillion, in tight jacket, breeches, and 
top-boots, whirled us into rapid motion ; how Gravesend 
did not affect me with any particular impression of grandeur 
and beauty. Yet it was not wholly wanting in that air of 
neatness and cleanliness, which I was already disposed to 
consider an attribute of the land. Every thing was on a 
sufficiently small scale, to be sure ; but there were many 
little snuggeries, with their green doors, their highly-polish- 
ed knockers, their well-trained vines and creepers, and rows of 
flower-pots arranged within, that haply indicated the abode of 
retired shipmasters or decent burghers, who, placing the little 
competency which the industry of their early life had secured 
to them beyond the reach of accident, had settled here to 
end their days in comfort and peacefulness. It was not, in- 
deed, to be expected, that Gravesend should furnish any 
great claims to the admiration of a stranger. It is an 
outport of London, the rendezvous of outward and home- 
ward-bound merchantmen, a species of nautical colony, 
redolent of tar, cordage, gin, and tobacco, and all that 
pertains to the unscrupulous tastes and inelegant uses of 
the sea ; it was, moreover, the opposite extreme to that 
West End whose fame has travelled beyond the seas, and 
might well, therefore, be accounted the antipodes of all 
that is elegant. 

Had my bodily discomforts been a little abated, there 
were, however, scenes by the wayside which might have 



JOURNEY TO LONDON 77 

pleased my eye, and imparled to my musings an agreeable 
colouring. The country had not, by nature, a very pic- 
turesque conformation, and was but slightly wooded. 
Neither were there, as yet, any of those vast parks and 
venerable mansions which constitute the marked attribute 
of the scenery of England, and attest the magnificent tastes 
and unbounded wealth of her gentry. Still there were 
lesser undulations of the soil, over which the road wound 
gently, commanding, ever and anon, from the summits, 
views of the busy and crowded river and the country 
around it. The scenes, though of still the same character, 
were yet perpetually varying, as the road, defying the 
straight lines of France, of Spain, and of my own country, 
gently and capriciously meandered through valleys and 
hamlets, and over little antiquated bridges that spanned the 
modest streamlets. On either side were hedges of haw- 
thorn, elder, or holly, in the place of our less picturesque 
enclosures; while the precincts of the estates were yet 
further marked by rows of bending elms. 

There was occasionally a villa of a more modest cha- 
racter, quaint, yet not ungraceful in its architecture, witb a 
paddock stretching towards the road, whose short smooth 
sward a pony would be cropping, teased at his meal by the 
caresses of a group of healthful children, under the guidance 
of a nursery-maid. A cow might be seen submissively 
yielding to the dairy-maid the healthful nutriment which 
was to accompany the evening meal. At the sheltered 
side of the house, which was usually overrun w ith ivy and 
eglantine, a small enclosure, bounded by a neat railing of 
iron, formed the little flower-garden, which still displayed 
the gaudy colouring of dahlias and roses, while gold-trees 
and laurels prolonged the season of verdure, and kept the 
idea of winter aloof. If there were nothing of luxury in all 
this, there was yet all that was required to impart comfort 



78 JOURNEY TO LONDON. 

and joy to a contented mind. I saw many modest habi- 
tations like this, which, placed in my own country on any 
one of the thousand unnoticed and unimproved sites of my 
native Hudson, would have bounded the circle of my 
unambitious hopes. 

Even the cottages of the peasantry were not only com- 
fortable and scrupulously neat, but were overgrown with 
creepers, whose deep verdure added to the brightness of 
the freshly whitewashed walls ; while here, too, flowers 
tastefully arranged in the windows, and a few evergreen 
plants covering the narrow space which usually separated 
them from the high road, gave evidence of a pervading 
good taste, not the exclusive attribute of the rich ; and 
that embellishment was not wholly shutout by the mandates 
of uncompromising utility. 

But the groups that covered the high road, or lined the . 
neatly-gravelled walks reserved for pedestrians at one side, 
furnished a yet more exciting theme for contemplation. The 
concourse was already great, and conveyed the idea of vast 
population ; for the rush of stage-coaches, even at this dis- 
tance from the capital, was immense. The travelling-car- 
riages and post-coaches were passing in all directions, and 
the variety of vehicles was infinite. The waggons and carts 
were of a far more ponderous description than with us; the 
horses being of a large, coarse breed, particularly adapted 
to farm labour and draught ; with drivers heavy and boorish, 
like their cattle. The pedestrians were either dressed in 
the common costume of the day, such as universally pre- 
vails with us, or else, when of the lowest classes, in frocks 
of blue cotton or of coarse linen, with corded breeches, 
leggings, and heavy shoes. They were, for the most part, 
sturdy and athletic. They had more fulness of outline, 
freshness of complexion, and freedom from wrinkles, than 
the same classes in America ; but the advantage in physical 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



79 



conformation ceased in studying their countenance, where 
the animal qualities seemed to predominate; giving a dolt- 
ish, stupid, and hrutal air, that conveyed the idea of a de- 
graded class, envious of their superiors, discontented with 
their lot, and strangers, through many generations, to moral 
and intellectual development. 

Many bore the marks of intemperance ; at each instant we 
passed little porter-houses and dram-shops, at which most 
of the pedestrians halted, and which were filled with cla- 
morous drinkers. We saw several people reeling from 
drunkenness ; one of them, being a soldier in his full ac- 
coutrements, and who was accompanied by two countrymen, 
carrying his musket and supporting him. They were pro- 
bably old acquaintances, who, out of pure kindness, had 
made him drunk, and were now reconducting him to the 
barracks, and the consequences of his misconduct. 

We sped onward at a tearing rate over hill and valley ; 
the road was as smooth as if laid with rails, and nothing 
impeded the rocket-like rapidity of our course. Why should 
it ? Indeed, if my memory does not mislead me, the Rocket 
was the ambitious, yet not ill-worn name of our conveyance. 
As we were very heavily laden, a third pair of horses, with 
a postillion, was added wherever the ground rose to the 
dignity of a hill. This occasioned no delay; each horse had 
its attendant hostler, alike characteristic in figure and in 
dress ; the descendant, no doubt, of a long line of horse rub- 
bing ancestors; and the business of changing was managed 
with admirable system and despatch. 

A wooden block, having a handle to it, was thrust under 
the hind wheel the instant we drew up, by a gray-headed 
retainer, worn out by hard working and harder drink, or 
prematurely superannuated by a kick, that left him to limp 
and go sideways through the world for the rest of his life; 
the coachman would nobly toss off the foaming tankard 



So .JOURNEY TO LONDON. 

presented to him, and have time to offer some little con- 
ventional gallantry to the attendant and not unwilling tap- 
maid; and, ere a minute had flown by, the guard would 
say " All right!" as he ascended the back of the coach, the 
block be withdrawn, and the horses, leaving their blankets 
behind them in the hands of the hostlers, would dart away 
at a gallop. 

Our coach being greatly overladen, would have been 
dangerously top-heavy on any roads but these. As it was, 
it required much care in the descents. The guard was 
watchful on all proper occasions to get the drag under the 
wheel, an operation which occasioned little loss of time from 
his dexterous activity. Hardly would we stop before the 
word " Right I" sharply repeated, would serve in itself to 
set the horses in motion. He was a cheery, gay Lothario, 
this guard of ours, who had already, in the journey from 
Dover, made immense advances in the good graces of the 
fair waiting-maids, and had especially found favour in the 
sight of the cherry-lipped, languishing damsel opposite him. 

The intelligence which had grown up between them in so 
short a time was astonishing. It would have been cruel 
had my obstinacy in the outset interrupted the mutual 
yearning. " Don't go L" she would say to him, with a tender 
unction, when it was necessary for him to fix the drag. 
"You can't tell what a difference it makes when you're 
gone; it's so cold!" Just before, when one of the others 
had complained of the growing cold, a feeling which I shi- 
veringly responded to my very bones, she replied, with a 
charming inconsequence, "La, me, Susan! how can you 
say so ? I'm so ot! I'm burning this very minute !" 

It was singular to compare the lively and consecutive 
conversation of the French girl, in her broken English, with 
the silly, random, flagging discourse of her companions, 
which was often interrupted by long pauses. They produced 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. HI 

provisions of various sorts from their work-bags, and ate 
frequently. One of them, moreover, drew forth a little 
flask, being a better description of pocket-pistol, charged 
with wine. They seemed, indeed, armed at all points ; 
were most comfortably clad, and many articles of their dress 
were of a rich quality, which indicated the rejected finery 
of their ladies. "Are you warm, Susan?" — "No, Maria, 
I'm ungry ; where are the sandwiches?" — " We are so for- 
tunate to have such fine weather. What would we have 
done had it only rained ?" — " Sunday was a very fine day. 
It was so lively on the pier." — " The wind was very igh," said 
Maria. "It rained very ard," rejoined Susan; who, just 
before, had lauded the beauty of the weather. After pauses 
of silence, followed each time by a meal, their ideas would 
start forward, and the conversation be resumed. We were 
slowly ascending a hill, when one who seemed sleepy roused 
to ask if we were going down. "No," said the guard, 
chuckling at the idea of the good thing he was about to 
utter, "we be going up, as we often has to do in this world!" 
This, I afterwards found, might be considered a rare and 
splendid ebullition of popular wit. Countrymen of San- 
choPanza! What, in this land of popular dulness, shall 
console me for thy shrewd and ingenious cleverness and 
thy sententious humour ? 

" Is this Black Heath ? " I thought of the olden time, 
and looked round for mounted robbers with blackened faces 
and in masks. Susan and the guard were talking matri- 
mony. The poor fellow was querulously complaining, with 
an air of affected sentiment, that nobody would have him. 
He did not stay long enough in one place; he was here to 
day and there to-morrow; one night sleeping in Dover, 
the next in London; there was no time for love-making. 
Then pray what are you about now? thought I to myself, 
for I had not the heart to interrupt him. Susan encou- 

o 



S2 JOURNEY TO LONDON. 

ragingly protested, that if she were not married within the 
year, it would be somebody else's fault besides hers. 

Presently they all talked fashion; they asked if anybody 
was in town ; it was decided that there was nobody there, 
and that it was cruel to have to go there. In the month 
of May or June, then, indeed, the town would be so de- 
lightful, and the country so odious. I had expected to find 
near two millions of people in London, and was now 
shocked to hear that there would be nobody there; or the 
next thing to it, nobody but nobodies. These fair ladies' 
maids seemed to have the same sort of contempt for masses 
and for the ignoble vulgar, that the negroes of rich planters 
in Virginia have for those unfortunate people who fall un- 
der the denomination of "poor white folks." 

Various were the towns we passed through, and count- 
less were the objects that caught my eye, and presented 
themselves as curious to my imagination. The sky was 
unobscured by a single cloud, yet the stars in vain strug- 
gled to reveal themselves through the thick and murky 
medium which man had interposed. The moon, though 
at the full, shone not through the lurid smoke, but seemed 
hung over head like a gas-light of greater magnitude, or an 
ill-illuminated balloon. At length we traversed Deptford, 
and the chain of houses became nearly continuous on either 
hand until we entered the borough of Southwark, and, • 
surrounded by a perpetually increasing concourse, reached 
a great fork, where many of the principal avenues for 
Surry, Sussex, and Kent unite, and which, from the name 
of an ancient inn, is called the Elephant and Castle. 

Who can realize the uproar, the deafening din, the rush 
the vast movement in various and conflicting directions ; the 
confusion, which yet seemed strangely enough to result in 
order; and the pervading bustle of that scene, so teeming 
with activity and life ? I was stunned, confused, over- 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



powered, heart-sick, at the sight of so immense an assem- 
blage of my fellow-creatures with whom I had no feeling 
of sympathy. There was a dazzling blaze of light from 
shops and lamp-posts to aid the obstructed efforts of the 
moon, and unbounded animation in the scene, yet there 
was nothing that was cheering. 

The dark masses of dwelling-houses had a confined, 
narrow, gloomy, and lugubrious aspect. They were of 
brick, without window-sills of marble or other coloured 
stone; unpainted, and unenlivened by blinds. They were 
closely shut, and the glimpses of cheerfulness and domestic 
comfort exhibited in our streets were here unseen. All the 
shops were open to the weather ; many of them having the 
whole front removed, and gas-lights blazing and streaming 
like great torches, rather than with the puny and flickering 
illumination seen in ours. The articles were completely 
exposed to view at the side of the street: clothing, provi- 
sions, crockery, hardware; whatever is necessary to the 
wants of man. The druggists, with their variegated vases, 
as with us, cast the iris hues of their nauseous mixtures into 
the street. Sellers of cheap goods exposed them in the 
windows, with their prices labelled. The butchers hung 
out beef, pork, sausages, and enormous coarse sheep, in a 
nearly whole state, with sometimes the price affixed to the 
inferior portions, in order that the poor might judge whether 
the price they had received for their day's labour might 
compass a meal of meat ; or whether they should seek a 
a diet more suited to their means, of a neighbouring potato- 
merchant ; or whether to turn in despair, as many of the 
most wretched seemed to do, to accept the flattering invita- 
tion of the magnificent gin-palace at the corner. 

It was the most splendid building of the neighbourhood ; 
built with some little architectural elegance, whose effect 

6 » 



S4 



.JOURNEY TO LONDON 



was magnified by the unadorned character and gloomy air 
of the surrounding edifices. A beautiful gas-light, in a 
richly ornamented lamp, stood as an inviting beacon, vi- 
sible in many diverging directions. The windows were 
glazed with costly plate-glass, bearing inscribed, in illu- 
minated letters, the words — " Gin at threepence — generous 
wines — hot spiced ;" and the door surrounded by stained 
panes of rich dye, having rosettes, bunches of grapes, and 
gay devices. The art which once was reserved for the 
ornament of temples, and was made to idealize on Gothic 
windows the lives of saints and martyrs, is here no longer 
the attribute of religion alone, but serves to lure the poor and 
the vicious of England to greater poverty and more abject 
vice. There was a singular moral in the contrast between the 
magnificence of this temple of misery, and the wan and tat- 
tered aspect of its votaries. It was an obvious example of 
the connexion of cause and effect, and seemed intended as 
a ludicrous illustration and mockery of their fate. And yet 
they entered; men and women; the last, moreover, in num- 
bers not inferior to the men; sometimes, too, with children 
by the hand; sometimes pressed, in the helpless stage of 
infancy, to their polluted bosoms. 

I know nothing more exhilarating than to be suddenly 
ushered in the night into a populous quarter of a great 
city. My recollection readily conjures up the impressions 
made upon me under similar circumstances in entering 
Paris, Madrid, Brussels, Milan, or gay and lively Naples. 
The lower classes, with their good-humour, their quaint 
drollery and sprightliness, there offer the most agreeable 
objects of contemplation. Here, however, there was in 
the corresponding classes nothing pleasing, or even pic- 
turesque. All seemed in search of food, of the means of 
intemperance, and of gratifying low and brutal passions. 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



85 



The idea of amusement had evidently no place. The streets 
swarmed with abandoned women, filthy in their dress, 
open, brutal, and indecent in their advances. 

In the place of the guitar, the serenade, the musical cries 
of chestnut-women, lemonade- sellers, and watermen, the 
sounds here were harsh and grating; uttered in words ill 
pronounced and nasally prolonged, or in an unintelligible and 
discordant slang, which I no longer recognised as belonging 
to my own language. In the place of skilful musicians, 
performing the favourite airs of Mozart or Rossini, or the 
witty colloquies of the sententious Punchinello, the poor 
were invited, in the nasal twang of clamorous mountebanks, 
to amuse themselves by a sight ofthelatest cases of seduction, 
murder, suicide, and hanging, represented in the shadows 
of the camera-obscura. I dare say many an unprejudiced 
Englishman has made the same observations, and noticed 
the same contrasts, in the manners of the lower classes, in 
returning from foreign countries to his own. 

At the Elephant and Castle we discharged a number of 
our passengers, who took omnibuses or hackney-coaches to 
convey them to the City, or to some of the suburban districts. 
There was quite a rush of hackney-coachmen, porters, and 
omnibus-drivers, to secure the employment thus thrown 
into the market, and cries of " Paddington — Angel — Bank" 
were loudly and nasally vociferated. This done, we set 
forward again at a rapid rate. Not seeing before me, I 
was astonished that, whirling onward in this way, we 
should escape contact with the countless vehicles which 
were rushing in every direction. The space necessary to 
pass seemed calculated to the inch, and though each instant 
a crash seemed inevitable, the next saw us in safety. I had 
never before seen such accurate driving. 

The omnibuses were of similar form to ours; but the 
hackney-coaches were filthy, lumbering, and tattered, and 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



the drivers and their horses were equally sorry and jaded. 
The hackney-cabriolets struck me as being very peculiar : 
they had a body having seats for two, while the driver was 
perched apart, on a little seat which formed an excrescence 
to the body, and overhung the wheel, so as to enable him 
to calculate the space in passing another carriage with the 
nicest accuracy. These drove at a furious rate. The ve- 
hicles differed from ours, in general, by being lower hung, 
and having much smaller wheels, the roads here being so 
much smoother and more free from ruts. They were, as 
a general rule, heavier and stronger, though they did not 
strike me as being of better form or higher finish. They 
were, however, infinitely more various in character. There 
were heavy carriages, and chariots driven by neat postil- 
lions; gigs drawn by active cobs, reconducting weary citizens 
to the comforts of a suburban residence; and, not to mention 
dog-carts and donkey-chaises, there were frequently very 
low, diminutive vehicles, drawn by ponies, and driven by 
old women. 

In traversing Westminster Bridge we took leave at once 
of the inelegant suburb, with its coarse and brutal popula- 
tion. For a moment, as we turned the centre arch, I caught 
sight of the upward and downward course of the stream, 
spanned by so many illuminated bridges, traversed by 
wherries with twinkling lights, and skirted on either side by 
irregular habitations, whose squalidity the darkness partially 
concealed, as it did all but the vast proportions of that Hall 
and Abbey which are connected with all the great events of 
England's history. I looked with a feeling of intense inte- 
rest to the walls which have echoed with the eloquence of 
her greatest men, and to the lofty roof and towers of that 
venerable shrine where repose the ashes of her patriots, 
poets, and sages. 

Leaving Westminster Hall and Abbey behind us, we 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 



81 



sped through Parliament-street and White-hall. The way 
was broad and stately, suited to the avenue by which the 
constitutional monarch of a great people was wont to ap- 
proach the scene of their deliberations. On either hand 
were palaces of the nobility, or edifices connected with the 
machinery of state. Here were the Horse Guards, the 
Treasury, the Admiralty, and the entrance to Downing- 
street. Here the greatest affairs are agitated ; and hence, 
more than from any place else, are the destinies of the 
world controlled. 

As in the buildings, so also in the equipages and all exter- 
nal objects, was there a marked difference in passing from 
Southwark to the more elegant precincts of St. James's. 
At Charing Cross we passed the bronze statue of the ami- 
able and interesting prince, the site of whose execution we 
had the moment before traversed. Turning from this to 
the left we entered Pall Mall, among magnificent club- 
houses having the air of palaces. On all sides were statues, 
columns, and all the attributes of wealth, splendour, and 
magnificence. And thus did I make my triumphant entry 
into the capital of England and the glories of the West End, 
upon the back of a stage-coach, weighed down and perse- 
cuted by boxes and luggage, and jammed up and inserted 
among five chambermaids. 4 



CHAPTER VII. 



THE COLONNADE HOTEL. 

Leave the Coach— Arrangement of the Inn — Coffee-room — Tete-a-tetf 
with a Sirloin — Dining Groups — Scene of Dulness — Breakfast and the 
Times. 

Had Monsieur Feuillade not been a Frenchman, I Lave 
my doubts whether I should have been received with any 
particular courtesy at the Colonnade Hotel. An English 
innkeeper of the West End would probably have kept aloof 
altogether from an unfortunate " outside," stowed away, 
moreover, upon that part of the coach which is the farthest 
possible removed from aristocracy, and intheunworshipful 
company of bouncing ladies' maids. At best he would have left 
him to scramble down as he might, by the aid of an inferior 
"boots," and find his way to the top of the house under 
the guidance of one of the chambermaid's subordinates. 

As it was, I had no reason to complain of any un- 
gracious reception. Perhaps the natural courtesy of Mon- 
sieur Feuillade's country was aided, at that conjuncture, by 
the reflection that the town was very empty, and his house 
also ; and that even an humble guest without suit or equi- 
page was better than no one. But where is the use of dig- 



TUB COLONNADE HOTEL. 89 

ging deep for a sordid motive, when a kind and creditable 
one stands staring upon you at the surface? The waiters 
held their arms and aided me to descend. I was in need 
alike of assistance and sympathy. My feet were numb witli 
ooW ; my unfortunate leg, which had so long dangled in 
unsustained dependence over the side of the coach, abso- 
lutely refused duty. I hobbled through the colonnade, and 
entered the vestibule. It was paved with black and white 
marble, in lozenges; at the side of the door was a com- 
modious chair, having a hood at the top. It was covered 
with green morocco, and padded, and evidently intended 
for the convenience of the porter who should watch dur- 
ing the night for the admission of the guests, without oc- 
casioning delay to them, disturbance to the house, or any 
very positive discomfort to himself. Against the wall, on 
either hand, hung a clock, a thermometer, and a w eather 
glass, that every guest, as he went out, might here obtain, 
without the trouble of asking questions, such information 
as concerned him. 

At the extremity of the vestibule was a low counter, 
behind which sat a pretty and neatly-dressed young 
woman, with a pen in her hand, and a book of accounts 
before her. She was taking down an order for dinner, 
given through a small window from the adjoining coffee- 
room, in order that No. 10 might not only be sure of get- 
ting what he called for, but likewise, as was indeed just 
and reasonable, of duly paying for it. Beyond her, in the 
distance, might be discovered a glimpse of a dresser and 
furnaces, over which presided an artist, whose white apron, 
jacket, and cotton nightcap, announced a member of one 
of the most respectable and estimable classes of French- 
men. To the left, a double door, opening either way, from 
which came the sound of knives and forks, showed the en- 
trance to the coffee-room ; to the right was the stairway 



90 THE COLONNADE HOTEL. 

leading to the apartments above, up which the chamber- 
maid hastened to conduct me. 

My room was not very high up. It was carpeted and 
curtained; the bed had a heavy tester; there were de- 
canters, large and small pitchers, china foot-tubs, a stand 
with an array of clean napkins, and various continental 
luxuries scattered about the room; among which I was 
delighted to notice a spacious fauteuil. Indeed, when the 
fuel which was prepared in readiness, had been kindled, 
and the chambermaid, who was tidy, officious, and oblig- 
ing, had pulled down the window-screens, the place had an 
air of decided comfort, and seemed very habitable. 

Having inquired if there were baths in the house, I was 
happy in being answered in the affirmative; and, presently 
after, was shown into one, at no great distance from my own 
room, which equalled in comfort, spaciousness, and luxurious 
appliances, almost any that I remembered to have seen. 
Glowing delightfully as I left the bath-room, improved in 
my dress and feelings, I felt reconciled to myself and to the 
land. And now for dinner. I could not discover, indeed, 
that 1 was hungry ; but it was only eight o'clock, and there 
were some hours of time to be gotten rid of. 

The coffee-room, into which I now entered, was a spa- 
cious apartment of oblong form, having two chimneys with 
coal fires. The walls were of a dusky orange ; the win- 
dows at either extremity were hung with red curtains, and 
the whole sufficiently well illuminated by means of several 
gas chandeliers. I hastened to appropriate to myself a va- 
cant table by the side of the chimney, in order that I might 
have some company besides my own musing, and be able, 
for want of better, to commune with the fire. The waiter 
brought me the carle, the list of which did not present any 
very attractive variety. It struck me as very insulting to 
the pride of the Frenchman, whom I had caught a glimpse 



THE COLONNADE HOTEL. M 

of on entering, not to say extremely cruel, to tear him from 
the joys and pastimes of his helle France, and conduct him 
to this land of fogs, of rain, and gloomy Sundays, only to 
roast sirloins and boil legs of mutton. 

The waiter, who stood beside me in attendance, very 
respectfully suggested that the gravy-soup was exceedingly 
good ; that there was some fresh sole, and a particularly 
nice piece of roastbeef. Being very indifferent as to what 
1 ate, or whether I ate any thing, and moreover quite will- 
ing to be relieved from the embarrassment of selecting from 
such an unattractive bill of fare, I laid aside the carte, not 
however before I had read, with some curiosity, the follow- 
ing singular though very sensible admonition; " Gentlemen 
are particularly requested not to miscarve the joints." 

I amused myself with the soup, sipped a little wine, and 
trifled with the fish. At length I found myself face to face 
with the enormous sirloin. There was something at least 
in the rencounter which conveyed the idea of society; and 
society of any sort is better than absolute solitude. 

I was notlongin discovering that the different personages 
scattered about the room in such an unsocial and misan- 
thropic manner, instead of being collected about the same 
board, as in France or my own country, and in the spirit of 
good fellowship and of boon companions, relieving each 
other of their mutual ennuis, though they did not speak a 
word to each other, by which they might hereafter be com- 
promised and socially ruined, by discovering that they had 
made the acquaintance of an individual several grades be- 
low them in the scale of rank, or haply as disagreeably un- 
deceived by the abstraction of a pocket-book, still kept up 
a certain interchange of sentiment, by occasional glances 
and mutual observation. Man, after all, is by nature gre- 
garious and social ; and though the extreme limit to which 
civilization has attained in this highly artificial country may 



92 



THE COLONNADE HOTEL. 



have instructed people how to meet together in public 
places of this description, without intermixture of classes or 
mutual contamination, yet they cannot, for the life of them, 
be wholly indifferent to each other. Though there was no 
interchange of sentiments by words, then, yet there was no 
want of mutual observation, sedulously concealed indeed, 
but still revealing itself in a range of the eye, as if to ask a 
question of the clock, and in furtive glances over a book or 
a newspaper. 

In the new predicament in which I was now placed, the 
sirloin was then exceedingly useful. It formed a most ex- 
cellent line of defence, an unassailable breastwork, behind 
which I lay most completely intrenched, and defended at 
all points from the sharp-shooting of the surrounding ob- 
servers. The moment I found myself thus intrenched, I 
began to recover my equanimity, and presently took cou- 
rage; bearing in mind always the injunction of the bill of 
fare, not to miscarve the joints; to open an embrasure 
through the tender loin. Through this I sent my eyes sharp- 
shooting towards the guests at the other end of the room, 
and will, if the reader pleases, now furnish him with the 
result of my observations. 

In the remote corner of the coffee-room sat a party of 
three. They had finished their dinner, and w r ere sipping 
their wine. Their conversation was carrried on in a loud 
tone, and ran upon lords and ladies, suits inChancery, crim. 
con. cases, and marriage settlements. 1 did not hear the 
world dollar once; but the grander and nobler expression 
of thousand pounds occurred perpetually. Moreover, they 
interlarded their discourse abundantly with foreign remi- 
niscence and French words, coarsely pronounced, and 
awfully anglicised. I drew the conclusion from this, as well 
as from certain cant phrases and vulgarisms of expression 
in the use of their own tongue, such as "regularly done" — 



THE COLONNADE HOTEL 



"completely floored" — "split the difference," that they 
were not the distinguished people of which they laboured 
to convey the impression. 

In the corner opposite this party of three, who were at 
the cost of all the conversation of the coffee-room, sat a 
long-faced, straight-featured individual, with thin hair and 
whiskers, and a bald head. There was a bluish tinge about 
his cheek-bones and nose, and he had, on the whole, a 
somewhat used look. He appeared to be reading a book 
which he held before him, and which he occasionally put 
aside to glance at a newspaper that lay on his lap, casting, 
from time to time, furtive glances over book or newspaper 
at the colloquial party before him, whose conversation, 
though he endeavoured to conceal it, evidently occupied 
him more than his book. 

Half-way down the room, on the same side, sat a very 
tall, rosy young man, of six-and-twenty or more; he was 
sleek, fair-faced, with auburn hair, and, on the whole, de- 
cidedly handsome, though his appearance could not be 
qualified as distinguished. He sat quietly and contentedly, 
with an air of the most thoroughly vacant bonhommie, 
never moving limb or muscle, except when, from time to 
time, he lifted to his mouth a fragment of thin biscuit, or 
replenished his glass from the decanter of black-looking 
wine beside him. I fancied, from his air of excellent 
health, that he must be a country gentleman, whose luxu- 
riant growth had been nurtured at a distance from the 
gloom and condensation of cities. I could not determine 
whether his perfect air of quiescence and repose were the 
effect of consummate breeding, or simply a negative qua- 
lity, and that he was not fidgety only because troubled by 
no thoughts, no ideas, and no sensations. 

There was only one table between his and mine. It was 
occupied by a tall, thin, dignified-looking man, with a very 



M THE COLONNADE HOTEL 

grave and noble cast of countenance. I was more pleased 
with him than with any other in the room, from the quiet, 
musing, self-forgetfulness of his air, and the mild and civil 
manner in which he addressed the servants. These were 
only two in number, though a dozen or more tables were 
spread around, each capable of sealing four persons. They 
were well-dressed, decent-looking men, who came and went 
quickly, yet quietly and without confusion, at each call for 
George or Thomas. The patience of the guests seemed un- 
bounded, and the object of each to destroy as much lime as 
possible. The scene, dull as it was, furnished a most favour- 
able contrast to that which is exhibited at the ordinaries of 
our greatinns,or in the saloons of our magnificent steamers. 

Having completed my observations under cover of the 
sirloin, I deposed my knife and fork, and the watchful wai- 
ter hastened to bear away the formidable bulwark by whose 
aid I had been enabled to reconnoitre the inmates of the 
coffee-room. A tart and some cheese followed, and then 
some dried fruits and thin wine-biscuits completed my re- 
past. Having endeavoured ineffectually to rouse myself 
from the stupefaction into which I was falling, by a cup of 
indifferent coffee, I wheeled my capacious arm-chair round, 
and took refuge from surrounding objects by gazing in the 
fire. 

The loquacious party had disappeared on their way to 
Drury Lane, having decided, after some discussion, that the 
hour for half-price had arrived. The saving of money is an 
excellent thing ; without economy, indeed, there can scarce- 
ly be any honesty. But, as a question of good taste, dis- 
cussions about money matters should be carried on in a 
quiet and under tone in the presence of strangers. When 
they had departed, a death-like stillness pervaded the scene. 
Occasionally, the newspaper of the thin gentleman might 
be heard to rumple as he laid it aside or resumed it; or the 



THE COLONNADE HOTEL. 95 

rosy gentleman from the country awoke the awful stillness 
by snapping a fragment of biscuit, or depositing his wine- 
glass upon the table. Then all was again silent, save when 
the crust of the seacoal fire fell in as it consumed, and the 
sleepy simmering note in which the teakettle, placed by 
the grate in readiness either for tea or toddy, sang on 
perpetually. 

I sank into a lethargy, from which it was impossible to 
arouse myself; despondency took possession of me ; I aban- 
doned myself to the most melancholy musings. The dingy 
walls, the sober illumination, the dim glare of the fires 
struggling to reveal themselves through the dense smoke, 
the awful and unbroken stillness and quiescence of a scene 
in which restless man was yet the principal actor, all bore 
upon me with a nightmare and overpowering pressure. 
The spirit of dullness and stupefaction seemed to hover over 
us with leaden wings. I cast my eyes round in despair, in 
search of something that might arouse me. The first object 
that presented itself was my own face, reflected back from 
the mirror with an expression more than usually sullen; 
looking next along the dark yellow walls, I caught sight of 
the various cloaks of the guests, suspended from hooks, 
and each surmounted by its corresponding hat. I thought 
of the" spectral box-coats" of my inimitable friend, Geoffrey 
Crayon ; and would have given the world, in that moment 
of despondency, for one of his quiet unwritten jokes, or one 
friendly pressure of his hand. 

My thoughts had taken a most gloomy turn; there was 
only one object which, by awakening my curiosity, seemed 
a little to excite me. On either mantel stood a singular 
and curious pair of little scales, such as I had never before 
seen. From one end of the beam was suspended a small 
weight, which rested in a socket at the bottom; from the 
other hung a fiat hook, whose use I could not conceive, 



THE COLONNADE HOTEL. 



unless it were to receive papers, or a letter. The scales 
were evidently calculated only to poise articles of one given 
weight. What could be their uses ? My curiosity was 
greatly excited, and I lived in the hope of learning on the 
morrow. 

At nine the next morning, the tidy chambermaid, after a 
modest knock at the door, entered my room with a pitcher 
of hot water, and quickly kindled the fire. When I rose, 
I found traces of Boots having been in my room, in the nice 
polish which he had left on his leathern namesakes, and in 
the neat arrangement of my well-brushed clothes. An hour 
after I made my entry into the coffee-room, which I found 
almost entirely unoccupied, few of the guests having yet 
risen. Breakfast was soon brought to me, and I found the 
butter, the cream, and the muffins excellent. Each person 
made his own tea, being furnished with canisters of two 
kinds, and the water brought by the waiter in a boiling state 
from the adjoining fireplace. On a table in the centre of 
the room were set out joints of cold meat, to which the guests 
carried their plates to supply themselves. 

I asked for the Times. The oracle was placed in my 
hand, full of news not an hour old. There was one un- 
doubted advantage of being in London, that of feeling that 
you were at the head-quarters of the world for intelligence 
of every kind. I read the leading articles, which were full 
of ability, and then went regularly through the paper, my 
curiosity being perpetually excited at the strange things that 
were there recounted : how, for instance, one Captain James 
Sargeant sued for a divorce from Harriet, his wife, on the 
ground of adultery; and how the said Harriet set up, as 
allegation in bar to the suit, the plea of recrimination, charg- 
ing her husband with adultery in return ; secondly, with 
collusion and connivance on his part in the adultery of his 
wife : how Tom M'Gill was indicted at the Middlesex Ses- 



THE COLONNADE HOTEL. 



91 



sions for feloniously assaulting his wife, and breaking the 
collar-bone of his child, the dispute having arisen about the 
expenditure of money given her to buy mourning for her 
child, then lying dead in the house. 

The said M'Gill had charged his wife with spending the 
money in liquor ; she, denying the same, was then and there 
knocked down, jumped upon, and, while apparently dead, 
her finger was by the said Thomas nearly bitten through, 
to ascertain if life were extinct; upon which she revived, 
crawled into the street, w 7 here, fainting, she was found 
drenched with blood by a policeman, and remained labour- 
ing under an affection of the brain : how John Barnes had 
wantonly and feloniously maimed, by cutting his hamstrings, 
a pony gelding, the property of Thomas Cheshire the younger : 
how a gentleman of elegant appearance, by the name of 
Coyle, had swindled the unfortunate Mr. Daltonof a superb 
dressing-case : how the paupers of St. George's parish had 
struck in the workhouse and stood out for labouring diet : 
howDr. Blick, in driving quietly in his cabriolet, was stopped 
by the mutes attendant upon a funeral, and severely beaten 
by their maces: how Mr. Bofhschild had been discomposed, 
and the financial operations of the world interrupted, by 
some impertinent individual, who had taken possession of 
his peculiar pillar in the Exchange. Finally, how 7 Henry 
Mason was charged with extorting from Samuel Singer, 
coal-merchant, the value of six shillings and sixpence, under 
a threat of accusing him of an indecency. 

When I put all these evidences of an advanced civilization 
together, occurring in a single day's history of a single me- 
tropolis, and contrasted it with the simple rusticity of my 
own country, I felt quite overwhelmed at the idea of how 
much we have to learn before we can even enler into a 
comparison. 

The venerable and benevolent looking man was seated 

7 



OH 



THE COLONNADE HOTEL 



near me at the same table as the previous night. He had 
already finished his breakfast, glanced at one or two papers, 
and, the waiter having furnished him with a small leathern 
portfolio, went on to write a number of letters. He then 
proceeded to direct them; and when he had done this, the 
waiter approached with a letter which I had noticed one of 
the young men of the talking-party the night before in the 
act of placing in his hand, with some particular injunction, 
in a low tone of voice, as he was going away to the theatre. 
The waiter addressed the benevolent gentleman in a very 
respectful manner, and begged, if he had a spare frank, he 
would oblige him with it for that letter. The benevolent 
gentleman immediately complied, after counting the letters 
which he had himself written, and others which he took from 
his pocket; and finding that he had not completed the 
number which he was entitled to frank daily for any one 
given post-office, which I afterwards found to be ten. He 
proceeded to copy the address, which was pencilled on the 
reverse, in his own hand, writing out the date and his own 
name, as 1 presently discovered ; for, having some doubts 
whether the letter were not over the legal weight for a 
frank, he sent the waiter to test it in the little scales on the 
mantelpiece before me. It was placed upright, with the 
direction towards me, and proved to be within the rule. 
This singular effort to save a few shillings by seeking a 
favour, through a waiter, of an unknown person, struck me 
as being very strange at the time, and corroborated the un- 
favourable opinion I was already willing to form of the 
whole of the blustering party whose conduct I had observed 
under cover of the sirloin. 

I found, in time, that this was a very prevailing trait of 
national manners in England ; and that there is nothing that 
people have such a horror of there as paying postage, which 
is, indeed, sufficiently high to be disagreeable. On visits at 



THE COLONNADE HOTEL. 



»g 



the mansions of individuals possessing this privilege, I was 
frequently afterwards a witness of the shifts that people 
resort to in procuring franks. Indeed, the franking pri- 
vilege is often the source of much annoyance to those who 
possess it. Thanks to it, however, I was now, without any 
necessity of betraying my ignorance by asking the waiter 
what would have seemed to him as absurd a question as 
one concerning the uses of a poker, let into the whole secret 
of the mysterious scales, about which, the night before, my 
soul had been so disquieted within me. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



WALKS IN LONDON. 

Appearance of Shops— Stand of Hackney-coaches— Life of a London 
Horse — Regent-street — Architecture of Club-houses — Duke of York's 
Statue — St. James's Park. 

Leaving my hotel with the intention of taking my first 
walk in the streets of the metropolis, I found myself in the 
colonnade which forms a covered w^y, round the quadran- 
gle of which the house formed part, and set myself quiet- 
ly in motion to make the circuit of it. This building, 
which is enclosed by a series of cast-iron columns, painted to 
correspond with the plaster of the walls, had its origin in 
the construction of a theatre for the representation of the 
Italian opera and ballets, which was intended to rival the 
great edifices of the Continent, and do no discredit to its 
royal appellation of the King's Theatre. It is very magni- 
ficent, as 1 afterward had occasion to see. The great part 
of this vast edifice not embraced by the theatre is let out 
to various uses, the Colonnade Hotel being the most consi- 
derable establishment of it. There are a collection of the 
most brilliant shops, filled with costly articles, attesting at 
once the wealth, the luxury, and refinement of the land, 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



101 



and the pitch of excellence to which the arts have been im- 
4 pelled by them. I loitered round to that side of the qua- 
drangle which contained the entrance to the opera. The 
season does not commence until near May, and there were 
no entertainments. I stopped, however, to read the pro- 
grammes of the other theatres, and fix upon some amuse- 
ment for the night. Ere long I was interrupted by a sensa- 
tion about my pocket, something approaching a nibble in 
piscatory language, but discovered no one near me except a 
highly fashionable personage, engaged, like myself, in de- 
ciding what theatre to honour. There were, besides, a 
number of gay and elegant young women, conspicuous for 
the frank and joyous freedom of their manners. 

The street on this side was the Hay market : directly in 
front stood the theatre of that name, while the centre of the 
broad street was used as a stand for hackney-coaches and 
cabs. Nothing could be more wretched than the appear- 
ance of these carriages ; filthy, covered with mud, the lin- 
ing and curtains soiled, the hair-stuffing hanging out, the 
glasses broken, and the panels smashed. The cabs had 
little advantage of the coaches, and the horses were not out 
of keeping with the vehicles to which they were attached. 
Their sides were hollow, and each rib stood forth in sepa- 
rate and distinct relief; their knees were bent forward, head 
hanging by the check-rein, and mouths stretched open, with 
the tongue hanging between the teeth. Some were dozing 
and nodding, like an elderly gentlewoman under the influ- 
ence of a dull sermon. Some of them, indeed most, in the 
midst of their present wretchedness, had a blooded look, 
and an air of having seen better days. I was in that mood 
in which gloomy thoughts find a ready admittance into the 
soul ; and I fell into melancholy musings upon the vicissi- 
tudes in the life of this noble animal. Let us say nothing 
about the deadly injuries that are done to him in the days 



102 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



of his youth ; though, at the thought, my mind naturally 
recurs to the more feeling usages of generous Spain," and to 
the idea of the respectable Rosinante. I happened to be at 
Burgos, the city of the Cid and his Babieca, at the time when 
the furniture and equipages of Mr. Villiers, the elegant and 
accomplished young minister of the British king, were pass- 
ing on their way to Madrid, under a heavy escort, to pro- 
tect them from the Carlists. In the train marched seven 
noble horses of the best blood. The landlord, who was 
likewise postmaster, was a young man whose whole soul 
was devoted to horse-flesh, being himself the possessor of 
many arrogant mules, and some noble Andalusian horses, 
reared in the meadows of Guadalquivir. How did his anger 
rise, and his whole soul glow with honest indignation, as he 
contemplated their severed tails and their cruel mutilation. 
He grated his teeth, and grasping his knife, exclaimed, 
with Spanish brevity and sententiousness, and in the spirit 
of retributive justice, the remnant of that law of talion which 
has been remembered and not unfrequently practised in 
Spain since the days of the Moors, — "al hombreque capa- 
ba a un caballo — te capaba a el /" 

We talk about our love for a favourite horse; but there 
is no such feeling; it is only a reflection of our love for our- 
selves. The horse carries his rider nobly and proudly, 
helps him to appear well, and is for the moment part of 
himself. Let him fall lame, or lose his beauty, and he is 
sold at once without regret, and another succeeds the next 
day to all the affection which was but yesterday his owu, 
From a broken-down hunter he passes at once to the car- 
riage, the stagecoach, or the plough, until at length he is 
driven furiously over the London pavements, and worn out 
by labour, increasing ever as his forces diminish, by blows, 
and by ill usage, he dies miserably under the hands of a cab 
ruffian. Verily, it may well be said, that the last stage of 



WALKS IN LONDON 103 

that horse is worse than the first. The most noble, the 
most elegant, the most useful of all the auxiliaries which 
nature has provided for man, his life is at the same time 
the fullest of misery, and his death the most long-drawn 
and disastrous. A pig is a king to him. A pig gorges, 
and wallows, and revels in a thousand luxuries dear to his 
swinish heart, increasing ever in health and happiness, until, 
reaching the climax of all the bliss of which his nature is 
capable, the merciful knife reaches the seat of vitality in a 
twinkling, and suddenly, without suffering, his soul is re- 
quired of him, and with a single squeal he yields it up. 

As were the cab-horses, so also were the drivers. All 
were filthy, squalid, and tattered ; some were drunk, others 
dozing. I afterward found, from the police reports, that 
many of them are also thieves. They are banded with what 
is called the "swell mob," an institution which, like the name, 
is peculiar to this country, and aid in carrying off plate and 
other plunder taken from the houses of the rich. One of 
the party learns the secret of the premises through the con- 
nivance of a servant ; and, not unfrequently, they take the 
agreeable mode of making love to a maid. A plan is thus 
matured for weeks before-hand, and rarely fails in its exe- 
cution. 

The miserable plight of these vehicles, intended for the 
accommodation of the public at large, contrasted singularly 
with the same class of conveyances in our own country, and 
bore strong testimony of the distinction of classes and dis- 
parity of fortunes here, and the humble condition of the 
third estate. With us, the hackney-coaches are almost 
universally neat and elegant vehicles, drawn by fine horses 
not easily distinguishable from the modest equipages of the 
rich. There are a vast number of people with us, who, 
while they may not be able to set up an equipage, have yet 
abundant means to compass the gratification of an occa- 



104 



' \NALKS IN LONDON. 



sional drive. Here those who keep no carriage must be con- 
tent to take the air in miserable, filthy vehicles, inferior in 
all respect to the worst of those that may be seen in New- 
York or Philadelphia, figuring in a funeral cortege of ne- 
groes. Going forth in search of country air and the aro- 
matic gales of gardens and meadows, they carry with them 
a nucleus of ill odours, and taint the atmosphere wherever 
they proceed. I never put my foot into one of them without 
noticing this offensiveness, and being prepared to appreciate 
the ingenious squeamishness of our eccentric countryman, 
John Randolph, of Roanoke, who was rooted in the idea 
that the hackney-coaches were habitually used by the Lon- 
don resurrectionists, and who would never enter any but 
chariots, because there was no room in them for the com- 
fortable accommodation of a dead man. 

As I yet stood gazing and musing upon cabs and jarvies, 
there rolled by the elegant equipage of a rich man, to carry 
out the contrast between the aristocratic and the lowly. The 
heavy carriage was suspended on double springs, and rolled 
forward without a jar, or the least clatter or noise ; within 
were seen the teints of rich silk, and luxurious cushions. 
Two proud and prancing horses bore hard ugon the reins, 
which were held by a stout, rosy, powdered, and richly-clad 
coachman, who was seated high aloft as on a throne. They 
arched their necks and pricked their ears disdainfully at the 
villain horses they were passing, little dreaming that a few 
short years were to reduce them to that same abject con- 
dition. Rehind were two footmen, in costly liveries, with 
aiguillettes and long canes to clear the way, if necessary, 
for their masters. Their looks were disdainful and impe- 
rious, and they stood up on their stout supporters, cased 
in plush breeches and neat white stockings, as proud and 
perpendicular as princes. 

Ry this time my attention to the cabmen had attracted 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



105 



tbeirs to me. Three or four broke the line at once, and 
beating their reluctant animals, drove against each other in 
eagerness to approach me, crying, as they held up their 
whips or a dirty finger, in a quick, nasal, cockney tone, 
M Cab, sir! cab, sir! Drive you quick, sir!" I had too 
much compassion for their horses, and too much con- 
sideration for myself, to accept the offer. Therefore, 
turning away, I continued my circuit until I had traversed 
the Colonnade to the point from which I had set out; 
thence I struck off' to the left, and found myself in the wide 
and noble avenue of Regent-street. Here I paused to gaze 
with admiration upon the magnificent club-houses and 
other princely edifices which stood isolated on either hand. 
Many of them are in a noble and chaste style of architecture. 
They are built of Portland stone, and, being in a neigh- 
bourhood not dense comparatively, and where there are 
no manufactories with steam-engines, furnaces, and belching 
chimneys, they are not blackened like the buildings in other 
quarters of the town, especially the east, towards which the 
wind habitually blows. They have, consequently, a light and 
gay colour, which the contrast renders particularly pleasing. 

Regent-street terminates at this extremity in a flight of 
steps, descending into St. James's Park, whose naked trees 
here intercepted the prospect; while from among them 
might be seen, nobly rising in the distance, the lofty roof of 
Westminster Abbey, flanked by its Gothic towers. In this 
fine situation, at the extremity of the street, overlooking the 
Park, the Abbey, and the surrounding palaces, stands a 
lofty column of stone, which I learned with wonder was 
intended to receive the statue of Frederick, late Duke of 
York. I could not help asking myself what the Duke of 
York had done for England, that she should thus comme- 
morate him. Will not posterity be disposed to ask the same 
question, and to wonder to what achievement of his inglo- 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



rious career, conspicuous only for ignominious failure as a 
general, for base and infamous collusion as a commander- 
in-chief — to what act of a life passed in dishonourable 
neglect of the common honesty which enjoins the scrupulous 
payment of one's debts, and in low debauchery as a man, 
he is indebted for this honour, hitherto reserved as the 
noblest meed of heroes and patriots? Will it not at least 
be admitted that he has won his column at a cheaper rate 
than Trajan in ancient times, or Napoleon in our own ? 

The indignation which I felt in contemplating this pros- 
titution was not the effect of any anti-English feeling, 
Were I an Englishman I should but have felt more strongly. 
Had I beheld this noble column surmounted by the statue 
of a Wellington or a Nelson, I should have freely added the 
full tide of my sympathies to those of a grateful and admiring 
nation. May not the day arrive when this people will begin 
to think, that to have been the base brother of a king is a 
less title to gratitude and consideration than to have borne 
the name of Horatio Nelson? When the statue of him who 
sacrificed a noble army ignominiously in the swamps of Wal- 
cheren, and abandoned a whole service to the avaricious prac- 
tices of an otherwise unpaid prostitute, will be indignantly 
dragged down, to make room for the effigy of that hero 
who unfurled the flag of England so gloriously at the Nile 
and at Trafalgar? 

Being so near St. James's Park, and tempted moreover 
by the pleasing glimpse I had caught of it from the base of 
the Duke of York's column, I could not forego the pleasure 
of seeing it a little nearer. Descending, therefore, the flight 
of steps conducting to it, I presently found myself in the 
midst of an extensive plantation of trees, disposed according 
to the rules of taste, which are here so well understood. 
In the centre of the park is an oblong sheet of water, arti- 
ficially produced, and being nearly stagnant. Under our 



WALKS IN LONDON 



107 



torrid sun, such a creation would prove the fruitful source 
of fever and pestilence, and we would as soon think of in- 
troducing the plague among us, as forming such a sheet of 
standing water within the boundaries of our cities. Here, 
however, it is attended with no bad result, and inspires no 
dread, while it tends greatly to the embellishment of the 
place, being prettily diversified, indented with little bays, with 
jutting promontories, and islands tufted with evergreens. 

From the Park, St. James's Palace assumes a much nobler 
appearance than on the side of the town, though still out- 
shone by the superior beauty of many mansions of the no- 
bility that overlook the same scene, especially Buckingham 
House, and the town residence of the Duke of Sutherland. 
Westminster Hall and the Abbey are among the fine objects 
which the eye takes in from this charming promenade, 
where every thing contrasted most pleasingly with the 
crowded and bustling thoroughfare which I had the moment 
before abandoned. 

Rural, however, and retired as I found the Park, it was 
not a solitude; though the groups who thronged it were of 
a less bustling character, and bent, for the most part, on 
pleasure instead of toil. There were groups of children at 
their sports, of a healthy and beautiful appearance, such as 
I had scarcely ever seen before. These were guarded by 
comely nursery-maids, who seemed to have time not only 
to watch over their charge, but to exchange words of kind- 
ness with tall and well-dressed footmen, Whom a happy ac- 
cident had led there, and sometimes with others, whose 
costume and air announced a higher station. There were 
abundant of red coats too, glancing among the trees and 
shrubbery; and a whole regiment of them, in admirable 
equipment, and moving with consummate steadiness, were 
marshalled along the main avenue, enlivening the groves 
with the inspiring strains of their military music. 



CHAPTER IX. 



WALKS IN LONDON. 

Piccadilly — Quadrant — Placard-bearers — Church of All-Souls — Park 
Crescent — Regent's Park — The Terraces — Improvements in London — 
Their good Taste — Adaption to America. 

Leaving St. James's Park, and turning my back on the 
duke and his column, I took my way up Regent-street, and 
presently reached the point where it opens out into a circus 
at the intersection of Piccadilly. This is one of the greatest 
thoroughfares of London or the world. It is the principal 
connecting avenue between the City and the West End, and 
one of the great routes of the southern and western coun- 
ties of England. The rush of vehicles was really fearful; 
there were many four-horse coaches arriving and depart- 
ing, cumbered with luggage and passengers ; and innu- 
merable omnibuses, whose elegant cads were standing on 
one foot, leaning far to either side and holding up a finger 
which they twitched coaxingly, crying the while through 
their noses, — 14 Kensington! Chelsea! Hammersmith! Hyde 
Park Corner ! Bank! Bank ! Bank!" Here, too, I stopped 
fo gaze with wonder at a golden bull and an overgrown 
mouth opening to swallow him, the distinguishing sign of 



WALKS IN LONDON 



a noted coach-office, whose name I had noticed on the 
coach which brought me to London. This is one of the 
few instances which I saw in London of the old signs, 
belonging to the quaint and simple tastes of ancient times, 
being retained, together with the names of celebrated 
inns. 

Making my escape, with some address and no little self- 
gratulation, across the mighty thoroughfare, I entered the 
Quadrant, and went on my way, rejoicing in my sense of 
safety ; for here I was defended by a range of massive cast- 
iron columns, and there was no danger of being invaded 
in this sanctuary and run down, whether by cab or omni- 
bus. The buildings here bend gracefully on either hand 
from that part of Regent-street which takes its rise in St. 
James's Park, so as to join a second street, bearing the same 
name, which runs northward, to connect it with Portland 
Place and Regent's Park. This Quadrant is flanked on 
either hand by fluted columns of cast-iron, having the 
massive appearance of stone, and being coloured to cor- 
respond with the stucco of the adjoining edifices. Above 
is a continuous skylight, connecting the colonnade with the 
buildings ; the upper stories of which are appropriated to 
millinery establishments and various uses, while the ground- 
floors are occupied as shops, and are filled with every 
species of costly wares, to attest the superiority of the 
useful and elegant arts in England. The effect of this 
Quadrant bending thus gradually, is, on the whole, de- 
cidedly elegant and pleasing, while the noble street open- 
ing beyond, and flanked on either hand by rows of symme- 
trical and ornamented edifices, breaks upon the eye with 
an air of great magnificence. 

There was much, however, in the groups that filled 
these elegant precincts, which was disgusting and hum- 
bling to the pride of any one who is capable of being 



no 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



wounded by the degradation of his species. Able-bodied 
men, many of them, moreover, quite well-dressed, were 
importuning every one to buy leathern straps to put under 
their boots, or a puppy-dog which they carried in their 
arms ; half-naked wretches were sweeping the streets at the 
crossing-places, and begging the price of a loaf of bread, with 
the assurance that they were famished with cold and hunger. 
I was struck with the appearance of one man, more wretch- 
ed than the rest. He was tall, graceful, and distinguished 
in his appearance. His clothes fitted closely to his person, 
and were of an elegant make, but they were greasy, thread- 
bare, and, being broken in various places, showed that his 
back rejoiced not in a shirt. His boots were sadly run 
down at heel, and escaping from his feet ; while his un- 
shaven beard, and his emaciated countenance, completed a 
picture of consummate misery and woe. Yet his air was 
as proud and elevated as that of any around him, and he 
strode onward, looking neither to the right nor to the left. 
What was that man to do ? His habits unfitted him for 
toil, yet he was doubtless ashamed to beg, though evidently 
starving. I could not fancy any thing but the example of 
Werter, and the relief of that friendly river in whose 
direction he was walking. Willingly would I have learned 
his story, though doubtless a common and oft-told tale, of 
wasted opportunities and ruined character. 

Leaving the Quadrant, I was immediately shocked at 
other spectacles yet more degrading. Here was a man, 
dressed in a red coat and epaulets, and having on his head 
a cocked hat, surmounted by the panache of a field -marshal. 
At his back and before him were suspended, so as to balance 
each other, a couple of boards, with printed placards to the 
following effect : " Gentlemen should instruct their servants 
to use Brown's blacking!" Farther on were two more, 
dressed from head to foot in one huge garment of green 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



Ill 



moreen. It had streaming pendent sleeves, and was ter- 
minated at the top in a tall steeple-crown, like a paper 
fool's-cap, such as is used by bullying pedagogues to degrade 
and break the spirit of a child. There was a single aper- 
ture left for the face of these consenting and polluted 
wretches, who looked out, shameless of the degradation of 
their species and of their own, as they bore high in the air 
placards of some ignoble advertisement — a new cure for the 
itch, or simply the street and number of Dr. Eady, the in- 
famous curer of an infamous disease. 

But the chapter of ignominy was not complete. A little 
farther on I saw a noble-looking man, with a sash bound 
about his waist, having a slight halt in his gait, a decidedly 
military air, and the port of a veteran. I fancied that I 
saw in him a worthy companion of Wellington in the field 
of Waterloo. He was the bearer of a placard which 
notified where might be seen the statue of Lord Dudley's 
favourite Newfoundland dog Bashaw. Here was a man, a 
noble specimen of humanity too, doomed in his old days to 
carry about a placard touching the statue of a nobleman's 
dog ! This is an outrage not merely against the dignity of 
man, it is a violation of the intentions of his Maker ; and I 
felt within me, at the contemplation of such a spectacle, not 
merely a loathing disgust at the baseness of the wretches 
who, rather than starve, should be found thus acquiescing 
in their own degradation, but a glow of honest indignation 
against ( the whole structure and condition of society in a 
country where, throughout a long series of years, the 
privilege of legislation for the good of all has been reserved 
in the hands of a few ; and where, systematically exercised in 
the interest of that few and for the enslavement of the 
many, it has eventuated in such a preposterous and un- 
equalled elevation of the one, attended by the necessary 
and corresponding abasement of the other. 1 



112 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



Presently I came to a cross street in which was assembled 
a great collection of people of the lowest class. This was 
the first specimen I had seen of a London mob, and a more 
squalid set of wretches could not well be imagined. From 
the number of policemen collected at the place, armed with 
their short clubs, there had probably been some disorder 
which was not unlikely to be renewed. The cause of it 
was soon obvious. A man was standing before the door of 
a dirty and suspicious-looking habitation, having on his 
shoulder a placard, on which was printed, in large letters, 
" Beware of a house of ill-fame," having doubtless been 
hired to do so by some decent burgher living next door, 
who had been scandalised by the character of his neigh- 
bours. This placard had brought together the mob, who, 
whatever might have been their own morals, were not 
sorry to have their fury authorized, and their taste for de- 
struction directed to some legitimate object. Its effects were 
already sufficiently obvious on the exterior of the building. 
The terrified inmates had closed the inside shutters, but 
the glasses were all broken, and the sashes smashed, while 
the whole front was plentifully daubed with mud, which 
had been thrown by the handful. The by-standers seemed 
only to wait for leave to set about the demolition of the 
whole establishment. 

Looking round me as I went, and musing upon what I 
saw, I presently reached the intersection of Oxford-street, 
where Regent-street again opens out to form a circus. 
Here is another thoroughfare between the East and West 
Ends, well nigh as great as that of Piccadilly; and here too 
the pedestrian is obliged to halt, and watch, and escape 
quickly for his life. The shops here assume a still more 
elegant and fashionable character ; among them were drug- 
gists' shops, the names of whose proprietors I had seen 
on their preparations in almost every corner of the world ; 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



113 



their extent, neatness, and elegance of arrangement were 
admirable. Others were occupied by French milliners, ad- 
dressing themselves in their signs to those only who could 
read French; Parisian and Swiss confectioners, and one or 
two very elegantly fitted up as cafes and restaurants. 

The vista before me terminated at an angle where Re- 
gent-street turns into Portland Place. This is a most fa- 
vourable point for the exhibition of a noble edifice. The 
objects on either hand prepare the eye for no measured 
degree of gratification. And here in fact the artist who 
conceived and so nobly executed in the last reign the mag- 
nificent idea of all these improvements, which give such 
an air of grandeur to this quarter of the metropolis, has 
accordingly placed an edifice, the church of All Souls, 
which seems meant as a masterpiece, and which at any 
rate may claim the merit of being able both to astonish and 
surprise. It stands forward far in advance of the adjoining 
buildings, face to face with you as you advance to enter 
Portland Place, and seems to say to you — Here ! look at 
me! And I did look at it, and with not a little astonish- 
ment and some embarrassment. For having never before 
seen an edifice like this, I could not judge it by any effort 
at comparison, and remained bewildered in the attempt to 
analyze my impressions. I was not long in determining 
that the character of the structure was at least costly, and 
its mechanical execution very elegant. In some of the de- 
tails, moreover, there was much subject of unqualified 
admiration. It formed, however, the oddest whole imagin- 
able. The church itself was of nearly square form, and 
stood back with a half modest and retiring air, well nigh 
concealed by the mansions adjoining. The roof was tall 
and angular, and sloped back from the more pretending 
portico and spire like a vulgar wife, half-shrinking from the 
fellowship of the more genteel husband who is ashamed of 

8 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



her. It was a striking instance of architectural misalliance. 
Had it stood by itself, without pretension and in all humility, 
it would have attracted neither notice nor animadversion. 
But the pride of a lofty alliance had dragged it into notice, 
and subjected it to contumely. The portico and spire, 
which touched rather than united with it in front, was full 
of pretension, and not wholly destitute of taste. It was of 
circular form, surrounded by a row of Ionic columns, sur- 
mounted by an elegant balustrade. Out of this arose a 
fluted stone spire, run up to a needle's point with great 
lightness and grace. Above the portico a large ring, sus- 
tained by a lesser row of columns, surrounded the spire. One 
is puzzled, in looking at it, to tell how or why it came 
there. It looks for all the world like a ring, and has the 
air of a trophy carried off in some jousting match on a 
great scale, with giant knights, and steeples for lances. 

Portland Place is still wider and more vast than Regent- 
street. It is of more ancient construction. The houses are of 
unpainted brick, and are all private dwellings. No omnibus 
is permitted to pollute with its presence these precincts, 
though now guiltless of nobility, and abandoned to the 
abodes of aspiring merchants and bankers. Compared 
with Regent-street, it had a certain air of staid respect- 
ability, not a little augmented by the occasional display of 
funeral hatchments, on which family arms were embla- 
zoned, with angels, hour-glasses, and various mournful 
emblems of the tomb, to announce that death had been 
busy within. I do not know that any thing ever affected 
me more unpleasantly than this obtrusion upon the world 
of that sorrow which, where it is sincere, is apt to shun the 
sympathy of the unheeding crowd; and this heartless effort 
to make the dead, by giving occasion to this heraldic dis- 
play, thus minister to the vanity of the living. 

At the extremity of Portland Place the buildings again 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



become modern, and sweeping back on either hand in a cir- 
cular form, with colonnades, terraces, and architectural 
embellishments, leave a vacant place between called the 
Park Crescent. This is enclosed with a massive iron rail- 
ing. It is planted with trees, and tastefully laid out as an 
ornamental garden, accessible to the tenants of the neigh- 
bouring mansions, who there enjoy the recreation of a daily 
walk, which the habits of the country render necessary; 
and where their children, when the weather will at all per- 
mit, pass a considerable portion of each day in healthful 
exercise. I subsequently found that, notwithstanding the 
denseness of London, there is scarcely any portion of it 
which has not in its neighbourhood some planted square 
or pleasure-ground, reserved for the health and recreation 
of its inhabitants. 

Beyond the Park Crescent lay the New Road, another 
vast thoroughfare, connecting the City with the extensive 
suburb of Paddington. Here was the same rush of vehi- 
cles, and the same abundance of hackney-coaches, cabs, 
and omnibuses, mingled with costlier equipages of the rich. 
Beyond the New Road lay the Regent's Park. Though 
my map had shown me in the morning that its extent was 
considerable, I determined to make the circuit. Its entrance 
was defended by railings and gates of iron, which may be 
closed atpleasure, to shut out intruding stage-coaches, om- 
nibuses, loaded carts, or aught that is unseemly or inele- 
gant. On my left-hand lay the Park, whose recent plan- 
tations of trees and shrubbery w ere in a very thriving state, 
indicating that, in the season of foliage, they were already 
in a condition to furnish shade, and an agreeable verdure. 
On the right, my eye took in a succession of stately edifices 
grouped together so as to produce the effect of a series of 
magnificent palaces, each forming by itself an elegant and 
harmonious whole. The first of these was Cambridge Ter- 

8 * 



110 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



race, which was in a pretty taste, and embellished with 
porticoes and architectural ornaments of simple Doric. 
Here, too, I paused to admire the swelling dome of the Co- 
liseum, a magnificient structure, fit for the exhibition of so 
vast a panorama as that of London. 

Chester Terrace, which was next to Cambridge, struck 
me as being extremely beautiful. Like the rest, it is thrown 
back from the main road along the side of the Park. It is 
of the Corinthian order, has a colonnade in the centre, and 
at either extremity an elegant entrance, in the form of a 
triumphal arch, which gives admittance to the private road 
leading only to the residences which compose it. The 
Terrace is raised above the level of the main road, securing 
the dwellings from humidity, and furnishing, from their 
windows, a commanding view of the road, which is not 
sufficiently near to annoy with its dust or noise, while it 
presents an ever animating scene of gayety and life, — of 
the tastefully-planted Park beyond, with its pretty villas, 
serpentine walks, sheets of water, and of the noble terraces 
which close the view beyond. Here, as at the other ter- 
races, the intervening space between the private avenue 
and the public thoroughfare is enclosed with balustrades of 
Portland stone, and flanked with evergreens and flowers. 

A little farther on I was met by one of the fairest proces- 
sions that ever blessed my delighted eyes. It consisted of 
some twenty or thirty young ladies, of various interesting 
ages between fourteen and twenty. They were dressed 
with great neatness and simplicity; and, as they passed 
along, each seemed prettier than the one who had preceded 
her, though my respect for what was due to their modesty, 
and some little prompting from my own, prevented me 
from scanning them with the attention which they merited. 
This was certainly a very charming spectacle in itself, and 
I contemplated it very frequently after with intense interest 



WALKS IN LONDON 



1 1 7 



when 1 came to learn that these young ladies were the or- 
phans of poor clergymen, for whose education an institution 
has been endowed in the Regent's Park, by the generosity 
of some rich person, who added good laste to kindness of 
heart and a discriminating benevolence. They are care- 
fully educated, and qualified to fill the station of gover- 
nesses in rich families ; and, to judge from their amiable 
appearance, would also make excellent wives, though taken 
at a venture. 

Cumberland Terrace, which next attracted my observa- 
tion, pleased me less, though the mansions which composed 
it were of far greater dimensions, and the style of archi- 
tecture more highly ornamented and of greater pretension. 
It consists of a grand centre and wings, connected by 
arches, under which are carriage-ways leading to the mews 
in the rear. From a rusticated basement rises a range of 
Doric columns, which is crowned by a balustrade, serving, 
at various points, as a pedestal for statues, standing singly 
or in groups. In the centre the colonnade is heavier and 
more imposing, being surmounted by a pediment with a 
group of statuary, representing the triumphs of Britannia. 
With such evidences of the grandeur of the Island Queen, 
exhibited in the residences of her merchants, traders, and 
modest citizens, I felt no disposition to deny to her the meed 
of my humble homage and admiration. 

St. Catharine's Hospital, which next succeeds, contrasts 
charmingly with the regular and classical architecture of 
the terraces and the Coliseum. It is a very pretty speci- 
men of Gothic architecture, evincing — a fact which I 
found afterward confirmed by still more favourable speci- 
mens in my rambles over England — that this noble style 
has been revived, in its simpler and more modest forms in- 
deed, with far greater success here then elsewhere. It con- 
sists of a beautiful little chapel, with a single nave, flanked 



118 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



by towers on the front, while on either hand are charming 
groups of cottages, with pointed gables in the Elizabethan 
taste. This institution was not long since removed to this 
healthier and more picturesque situation, from the present 
site of St. Catherine's Dock in the city. It is an hospital, 
founded in past times for the relief of the families of seafar- 
ing persons, or others of the humbler dependants of that 
commerce which has here achieved her greatest triumphs. 
It was a worthy monument — and I was afterward called 
upon to admire many such — of the princely benevolence of 
Englishmen. 

Gloucester Gate is another grand entrance to the Park. 
It is a species of triumphal arch, in Doric taste. I looked 
out of it, and walking a few steps, came to a bridge over 
the Regent's Canal, on the banks of which stands a charm- 
ing collection of little ornamented cottages of the Eliza- 
bethan, Gothic, or Saxon architecture. Many of these have 
a grotesque and quaint appearance, yet the effect of the 
whole is pleasing and agreeable. Small, but beautifully- 
arranged gardens and mimic conservatories swept down 
to the borders of the stream. I had occasion afterward to 
enter some of these, and found them filled with all ima- 
ginable comforts. 

I could not but regret the unfavourable character of the 
comparison between these charming cottages, and the 
tasteless masses of brick and mortar in which people of the 
same class and of greater means are contented to live in my 
own country. The greater mansions overlooking the Park, 
though they pay oppressive taxes of various sorts, well nigh 
equal to the rent, are not more expensive to the tenant than 
the graceless edifices of equal size from which our city mag- 
nates look out rejoicingly into the dust, tumult, and deaf- 
ening clatter of Broadway ; while these modest and charm- 
ing cottages offer to the individual of humble means, each 



WALKS IN LONDON 



II* 



such a little castle of comfort, such an epitome of all that 
the heart of man longs for in the habitation of his body, as 
could not be procured with us at any price, except only at 
the trouble of creating it. One principal reason, indeed, of 
the advantage possessed over us by this country, is found 
in the vast superabundance of capital, ever seeking for 
means of investing itself within sight of its possessor, and 
easily satisfied with any interest, however low. Here, 
however, a knowledge of comfort and good taste preside, 
and lend their aid in every creation. These we do not pos- 
sess in any commensurate degree. Let us hope, however, 
that it may not always be thus. The genius and character 
of our people are the same, and we are rising to greatness 
by the same means, with far more rapid strides, and, from 
the unbounded and exhaustless nature of our resources, 
without any assignable line of limitation. It is to be hoped 
that, as our means multiply, good taste will grow up to em- 
ploy them in whatever tends to the embellishment of life. 

There is one circumstance, however, connected with the 
creation of Regent's Park and the palace-like mansions 
which surround it, which could not well apply to any thing in 
my own country. It was originally a royal demesne, and once 
formed the site of a palace inhabited by Elizabeth. Part of 
it was afterward leased for a term of years. During the 
last reign it reverted to the crown, when the plan was 
formed, under the direction of the commissioners of Woods 
and Forests, aided by their architect, Mr. Nash, of those 
magnificent improvements, which were to me a source of 
increasing delight, the longer I had an opportunity of ob- 
serving them. The Park, consisting of five hundred acres, 
was laid out in the happiest taste of an art which is essen- 
tially English ; and the surrounding grounds were leased to 
enterprising speculators, with the condition of building upon 



120 WALKS IN LONDON. 

a stipulated plan. After all, it was individual wealth, and 
capital originating from the same sources which are so ra- 
pidly developing it in our own country, which led to all 
these splendid creations. Nor am I quite sure that the cor- 
poration of my native city have not a control over large 
tracts of land which a few years will bring within its in- 
habited precincts. No situation offers greater capabilities 
for ornamental improvemeut than the island of Manhattan, 
on which New- York is situated. On one hand lies one of 
the noblest rivers of a world in which every thing is on a 
grand scale; on the other, and at a distance of two or three 
miles, a beautiful arm of the sea. Nature has thrown its 
surface into a pleasing variety of hill and hollow, of rock 
and glen, and picturesque ravine. What has art hitherto 
done to heighten these beauties? Why, she has approach- 
ed her task under the guidance of a blind and mistaken 
utility, taking no counsel of good taste. Hills have been 
cut away and cast down into the adjoining hollows; rocks 
blown asunder and prostrated ; coves filled up, to be on 
an equality with the headlands that enclosed them ; the 
whole surface of the country revolutionized; that which 
nature placed at the top cast to the bottom; the sources of 
maladies prepared by the efforts to promote health ; beau- 
tiful groves cut down to make room, at best, for rows of 
Lombardy poplars; compact masses of brick edifices run 
up, without any reservation of promenades for the recre- 
ation and health of those who are to inhabit them; a thou- 
sand things begun, and scarce one finished; and the whole 
scene brought, under the pretext of improvement, to pre- 
sent one desolating spectacle of chaotic confusion ; while in 
this quarter of London, which is as modern as many parts 
of New- York, the effect of newness is already banished. 
Whatever has been done, has been done permanently ; 



WALK& JN LONDON. 



1*21 



hedges, gardens, and plantations have been quickly created 
to gloss over and smooth away the rugged aspect of inno- 
vation. 

Our large, wealthy, and growing metropolis should have 
in its perpetual employ an architect of ability and cultivated 
tastes. He should visit the capitals of Europe, and imbue 
his mind with whatever ideas of convenience, elegance, or 
grandeur they may present; and he should especially study 
the liberal and enlightened improvements, and the domes- 
tic architure, in its more modest forms, of the people from 
whom we sprang, and whose tastes are destined to become 
our own. Nowhere in England could he find more happy 
sources of inspiration than in Regent's Park and its orna- 
mented precincts. This is a digression from our subject ; but 
the author is unwilling to permit himself to be deterred by 
this consideration, while attempting to describe what has 
excited his admiration in another country, from suggesting 
whatever may be advantageous to his own. 



CHAPTER X. 



WALKS IN LONDON. 

Circuit of Regent's Park — Southern Terraces — View of the Grounds — 
Comparison of Regent-Street and Broadway — Equipages and Horses — 
Street Population — Female Walkers — Preservation of Order. 

The reflections which closed our last chapter were pre- 
sently put to flight by the very pleasing spectacle of a youth- 
ful matron emerging from one of these tasteful cottages, 
attended by her little family. It consisted of two fine healthy 
children, very neatly dressed, who were armed with various 
toys for their amusement, under the guidance of a li- 
veried servant, who carried a couple of umbrellas as 
a precaution against rain, and seemed to have the ad- 
ditional charge of protector to the whole party; behind 
followed a child of a year or more, who, bundled in shawls, 
was trundled along in a waggon of wicker-work, which the 
nursery-maid drew after her. As they also seemed bound 
on the same voyage of circumnavigation with myself, I was 
very willing to sail in their wake, and beguile the way by 
interesting myself in their gambols. At the entrance of the 
Zoological Garden, however, they turned in to take a look 
at the wild beasts, and I was compelled to continue on with- 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



123 



out any other companion than my thoughts, and the interest 
which I derived from the observation of surrounding objects. 

Leaving the wild beasts to roar, the monkeys to chatter, 
and the parrots to prate on, for their own amusement and 
that of my youthful friends who had just entered the garden, 
I continued my walk, which now began to bend to the west, 
in forming the circuit towards the place from which I had 
set out. From Macclesfield Bridge, which is a beautiful 
construction of cast-iron, I took in a pleasing view of the 
banks of the Canal, of Primrose Hill, the holyday resort 
of the jaded artisans of either sex, and the curious scene 
of practical jokes, and sturdy and somewhat unscrupu- 
lous gambols, — of the ornamented villa of the Marquis 
of Hertford, and of others half hidden beyond within 
the deepening thickets of the Park, together with the 
grand panorama of the palaces which enclosed it. Hanover 
Terrace, with the charming lodges near it, next awakened 
my admiration, and presently I stood bewildered, yet not 
displeased, before the fantastic structures of Sussex Place. 
This is a curious group of buildings, in a Chinese taste, hav- 
ing a singular collection of octogonal towers, surmounted 
by cupolas and minarets. The effect of it is very odd ; and 
though I felt no disposition to envy those who lived there, 
and whose ideas, as it struck me, were like to receive an 
eccentric and fantastic bent from the obliquity of their ha- 
bitations, it served to give an air of variety to the whole 
scene, and greatly to enhance, by the effect of contrast, 
the more regular and undeniable beauties of the surround- 
ing terraces. 

From this point the grounds of the Park are seen with 
all their beauty. They present a great variety of agreeable 
objects, groves, gardens, sheets of water, the indentation of 
whose shores imitate the graceful caprice of nature, inter- 
spersed with villas , lodges, and airy bridges, and the view 



124 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



being closed in the distance by the nave and towers of St. 
Catharine's, the dome of the Coliseum, and the colonnades 
of the adjoining terraces. The inhabitants of these mansions 
enjoy, in the heart of a great city, the sight of whatever is 
pleasing in the aspect ofthe most highly-ornamented scenes 
of rural life — for even sheep and cattle were not wanting 
to complete the picture of pleasing rusticity. Nor is it 
only in the sight of these objects that they found gratifi- 
cation. While many rolled over the smooth avenues in 
luxurious equipages, others of either sex ambled on beau- 
tiful and highly mettled horses, followed by neatly-dressed 
and equally well-mounted grooms ; while others, with an 
air of not inferior enjoyment, rambled on foot over the 
gravelled walks of the enclosures, or, seated on rustic benches 
at the sunny side of a grove, or by the margin of the water, 
pored over the pages of some attractive author ; — haply a 
Thomson, a Cowper, orsome oneof those descriptive poets 
of the land, who have sung so sweetly of rural scenes to 
a people formed by their tastes to appreciate their descrip- 
tions and to sympathize in their ecstasies. The laugh and 
lively prattle of children, too, gave to the scene its most 
pleasing character of animation. Some were ferried over 
the water in pretty wherries, while others, hanging over the 
airy bridges which spanned the stream, seemed delighted 
to divide their luncheon with the majestic swans which 
sailed proudly below, and which for a moment forgot their 
stateliness and dignity in their eager efforts to catch the 
descending morsels. 

Clarence and Cornwall Terraces, which struck me as 
being yet more beautiful than any I had seen, brought me 
to York Terrace, which, having all its entrances at the 
back, and the gardens in front, without any divisions, con- 
veys more irresistibly than the rest the idea of one magni- 
ficent palace. I had now got back to the New Road, 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



lib 



whence I had set out. There were two or three churches 
in sight, that of St. Mary-le-bone and Trinity; but as they 
were without attraction, and characterized by a bad taste, 
which my rambles round the Park had unfitted me to bear 
patiently with, I did not waste my time in a second look at 
them. So, escaping through the press at the New Road, I re- 
entered Portland Place by the Park Crescent, and bent my 
steps homeward. 

As I passed along this noble avenue, from its origin in 
the Regent's to its close in St. James's Park, I had leisure 
again to admire its magnificence, and to appreciate the ab- 
surdity of comparing Rroadway, or any other street in 
America, to it. In the brilliancy derived from our trans- 
parent atmosphere, and unclouded deep blue skies, and 
the dazzling splendour with which the sun shines through, 
revealing, gladdening, and vivifying every thing with the 
magnificence of an unimpeded and tropical illumination, we 
possess, indeed, an advantage to which London and Eng- 
land are equally and for ever strangers. In the single 
particular of unbounded movement and life, Rroadway is 
moreover equal, from the simple circumstance of its im- 
mense length, and its being almost the only outlet to a great 
city, to Regent-street, or any other that I am acquainted 
with. Rut in all else, its attractions are not such as to en- 
title it to enter into the comparison. 

In the first place, it is greatly inferior in spaciousness and 
width. In Rroadway there is a perpetual and most dis- 
pleasing variety in the height and fashion of the houses : 
each is a complete republican, that has grown up indepen- 
dently and in its own way. A giant of four stories, with a 
flat roof, looks down upon its next neighbour, a big-headed 
dwarf of one story, with a most ambitious attic. Here is 
a dwelling-house, there a shop. The windows and doors 
are scattered up and down, in defiance of symmetry, and in 



120 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



contempt of right lines, and the variety of colours is infi- 
nite. In Regent-street, on the contrary, there are conti- 
nuous ranges of edifices, erected on a series of uniform 
plans, decorated with architectural ornaments, and coated 
with plaster of one uniform complexion. Perhaps the 
churches and public buildings that one passes in a walk in 
Broadway are in a better style than those of Regent-street, 
though this, after all, is not saying much. With us there 
is a disposition to keep to classic taste and approved mo- 
dels, while here the taste is to mingle beauties, however 
discordant, producing what is original and eccentric; 
something which has had no precedent, and is likely to be 
followed by no imitation. In both places there is the same 
nuisance of omnibuses, and the same sufficiency of dust, 
though we excel wonderfully in noise, owing to the circum- 
stance of our pavement being made of round pebblestones. 

Here the private equipages, which were heavy, costly, 
and luxurious, were intermingled with squalid cabs and 
hackney-coaches. With us the vehicles generally are of a 
lighter and more tasteful make, and the hackney-coaches 
are often so elegant as scarcely to be distinguished from the 
private carriages, except by the inferior grooming and 
showiness of the horses. I could not determine whether 
there were more fine horses in Regent-street or Broadway. 
At this season the town was empty of fashionable people, 
and perhaps our own city had the advantage. The En- 
glish horses were, however, much better groomed and 
broken. Here were no long-tailed nags, driven by proud, 
shabby, genteel people, and no sulkeys with trotting horses, 
dashing along at the rate of a mile in three minutes. The 
taxes on vehicles and horses seemed to check the aspira- 
tions of poor and humble lovers of horse-flesh, and confine 
the 1 uxury exclusively to the rich. All kept scrupulously 
to their proper side, on the left, and the respect for custom 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



127 



and the law in this respect seemed to be uppermost in the 
heart of every man who held a whip. Here were no acci- 
dents and no restifness. In fact, in more than a year that I 
subsequently passed in England, I do not remember to have 
witnessed a single accident, except on a race-course, where- 
as one of the commonest spectacles I had been accustomed to 
see in Broadway was that of a horse prancing along with- 
out a rider, followed by the full hue and cry of boys, ne- 
groes, and Irishmen, or a light waggon, spinning along on 
three wheels, overturning orange-sellers, and demolishing 
old women. 

I think the comparison between the street population of 
the two places, in point of appearance, was, so far as I 
could judge as yet, in favour of London. Here was an air 
of greater health, and more fulness of muscle, and fresh- 
ness of complexion. To be sure I had been traversing the 
rich quarter of Westminster, in a part but casually and 
slightly infested by the poorer and more squalid classes of 
the metropolis. One remark was most obvious to me; 
with us, the agitation which is constantly going on through- 
out the whole mass of society, is perpetually throwing to 
the surface that which was but a little before removed 
from it. Merit, industry, assiduous exertion of any sort, — 
opposed by no insuperable barriers of pride or prejudice, 
and fettered by no system of laws conceived in the interest 
of the few and the idle, and in enmity to the industrious 
million, — secure of their reward, are perpetually raising to 
competency and distinction those who, in the outset of life, 
were humble and unhonoured; while the idle and the pro- 
fligate, degraded by the contrast rather than sustained by 
the consideration which their ancestors had won for them- 
selves by their good works, are seen, on the contrary, to 
sink in a descending counter-current, to mingle ultimately 
with the dregs. This agitation, then, of the state of society, 



128 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



has the effect, in the large and rapidly-increasing commu- 
nities of the Republic, so to mingle the races as to break 
down in some measure the physical distinctions which cha- 
racterize other countries, where the classes are stationary, 
and the castes immutable. 

< In London, the races are most distinctly marked. It was 
not necessary to observe the cut of a coat, or the fashion 
of the nether garment, to tell in an instant who was the 
bramin and who the pariah. The gentleman was easily 
distinguishable by his superior height, his air of generous 
feeling, his pride of step, and a certain erect, elevated, con- 
fident, contented, and — if I may add a qualification which 
applies to most of our native-born population in America 
— independent and republican freedom and nobleness of 
carriage. The trader had a very different air, though he 
struggled to make it the same ; for it was the effect of imi- 
tation. There was a blending of haughtiness and humi- 
liation, a versatility held in preparation for contact with in- 
feriors or the great; a look which could catch the expres- 
sion of contempt and scorn, or soften at once into a com- 
placent simper and cringing obsequiousness. 

Among the humbler classes, the physical conformation 
seemed to announce the peculiar and separate calling of 
each distinct individual. The same trade, descending per- 
petually from father to son through long succeeding gene- 
rations, had occasioned a development of particular limbs 
and muscles. The absence of intellectual and moral cul- 
ture, in occupations which rendered it unnecessary for those 
who worked only to administer food to themselves, and 
profit or luxury to the class of masters, could only account 
for the absence of forehead, of the ornamental parts of that 
face which was moulded after a divine model; and which, 
among the untutored and unoppressed savages, who roam 
without distinction of classes over nature's wilds, is ever 



« \I,KS IN LONDON! 



180 



found to bear the impress of its original. The mouth and 
jaws announced bull-dog capacity to tear and masticate 
their hard-earned food. There was often a preposterous 
development of the neck, the shoulders, the arms, and 
hands. In many, the effect of unhealthy occupations was 
visible in a peculiar conformation of their care-worn coun- 
tenances, and in a general physical deterioration. 31any 
generations of a sedentary life, a perpetuity of confinement 
at a workbench, evinced itself in some by a ludicrous short- 
ness and diminutiveness of the legs. It was cruel to laugh 
at a deformity thus artificially produced, less the fault than 
the misfortune of their ancestors, and yet it was not easy to 
contemplate it with composure. 

I could not help speculating upon the effects of pushing 
such a system to its extremest limits. Might not nature tire 
at length of making legs, to exhaust unnecessarily, by their 
demand for vital supply, the bodies of those who were never 
destined to use them? Just as she has long since given over 
the bootless effort to supply tails to Spanish poodles, to be 
cut off by their comical masters ; or affixing such a useless en - 
cumbrance to serve as a drag and a drawback through the 
weary journey of life to monkeys, which, no longer serving 
to aid the purpose of locomotion, or give life to their 
gambols, are found gradually to dwindle and disappear in 
countries that have no trees ? 

T*he women whom I saw were nearly all plump and 
comely, and their complexions were universally good, even 
in this dingy atmosphere. To be sure, their faces were 
nearly all dirty, at which I was the less disposed to wonder 
when I found, on getting to my lodgings, that my own was 
in the same condition. I had several times used my hand- 
kerchief in removing objects which had fastened on my 
face ; these proved to be sooty particles, detached from the 

9 



ISO 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



chimneys and furnaces of the mighty Babylon; and I found, 
on consulting my mirror, that 1 was, and had probably 
been so for some time, the proud possessor of an ex- 
ceedingly well-defined, coal-black whisker on the left cheek, 
together with a very promising mustache on the opposite 
side. 

But to return from my own face to the more pleasing study 
of those of the women : I have to remark that they were 
almost all expressive, and many of them very beautiful. 
Moreover, they generally surmounted well-formed and 
often swan-like necks, reposing on nobly-expanding bosoms. 
In descending, the analysis became less satisfactory, for their 
forms were, almost universally, bad ; the upper part of the 
bodies was too large for the lower ; the foundation seemed 
crushed by the weight of the superstructure. There was of 
course a limit to the observations one might make in the 
street ; but to a man of any observation, or at all knowing 
in matters of this nature, used to induction, or capable, from 
the habit of ratiocination, of remounting from things seen 
and real to things hidden and unseen, there was little risk 
of injustice, in noticing the awkward bending of the ankle, 
to infer malformation above. The feet were, for the most 
part, ponderous and flat, indicating both an inherent ugliness 
and defective shoeing. They were often crooked and full of 
excrescences ; nor did they always correspond exactly, and 
seem to be mates. Sometimes both had a leaning one way ; 
the right foot out and the left in, for instance. I was more 
than once reminded of a stout double-decker, with high 
poop and heavy counter, lying down in strong breezes under 
double-reefed topsails. 

The gait, of course, of women thus formed was shuf- 
fling, heavy, and lumbering, destitute alike of harmony and 
ease. Perhaps I cannot better convey an idea of the effect 



W \LKS IN LONDON 



of this peculiar conformation upon the movements, than 
by citing the opposite conformation and equally opposite 
movements ofTaglioni. I think thatany one who has looked 
at this goddess of the graceful art with any view to analyze 
the elements of her success, must have been struck with the 
great length and development of her legs, compared with 
the light superstructure which reposes on them. This 
seemed ever to me to furnish one means of accounting for 
her rare and matchless agility and grace. There is, indeed, 
a gossamer lightness in all her movements, that sometimes 
makes one think that her excellence depended less on pe- 
culiar conformation and great muscular power, than on a 
total absence of all specific gravity. One is tempted to 
believe that she is indeed the sylph, whose wings and wand 
she wears; an ethereal being; a child of the skies, over 
whom the laws of attraction, which drag all common 
mortals down to their mother earth, have no dominion. 
The French, the Italian, but especially the Spanish women, 
have, more or less, this peculiar conformation. Hence do 
they glide forward with so rare a grace, and hence that 
poetry of motion which is found in a Sevilian or a Gaditana. 
The absence of this among English women may account 
for their want of grace. Were you to divide the figure for 
the sake of analysis, you would be struck with the fact that 
the lower portion is completely sacrificed to the upper, 
which is almost alwavs noble. 

In general, the women were not well dressed ; there was 
abundant evidence of defective taste, and an ignorance of 
the effect of colours. Indeed, it seemed that there were 
few ladies in the street; and that it was not the fashion for 
them to appear there, still less to look out of the window. 
The characterof most of these females seemed to account 
for this restriction; it was only occasionally I saw a modest 

9* 



132 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



woman, followed closely by a servant in livery. I was 
particularly struck with an immense variety in the size of 
the females; the extreme height of some, and the equally 
wonderful smallness of others; when, occasionally, they 
came beside each other, the contrast was most preposte- 
rous. I could only account for this decrepance by suppos- 
ing that the big ones were fresh from the country ; and I 
found, on inquiry, that they were probably from Yorkshire, 
while the " little uns" were unquestionably the dwindlings 
and depreciations of the race, through long successive ge- 
nerations of a London existence; condensed, constrained, 
pinched up, and breathing and feeding unwholesomely. 

On the whole, the street population, excepting the want 
of elegance in the women, compared favourably with ours. 
It was more picturesque and more varied in the costume ; 
there were more good looks, and a more abounding air of 
health and vitality. Here one escaped entirely from the 
saffron hue of people from the south, and from the marshy 
new lands of our western rivers ; as well as from all the in- 
termediate shades between black and white, the effect of 
the various crossings with the race of Ham. Here were no 
negroes, black, green, or blue; no mulattoes, with aspect 
of mingled milk and molasses, brushing you away with 
their tattered plaid cloaks. Here the poor made way for 
the well-dressed, with a cringing air. They seemed to have 
been taught their place in succeeding ages from father to 
son. Rural justice, with its stocks and whipping-post, had 
inculcated a lesson of experience which they were not likely 
to forget. The boys, like the men, had less spirit and 
mischief in them than with us. There were none to drive 
hoops against one's shins, or serenade you with tin kettles, 
or condemned watering-pots dragged over the pavements. 
The police were seen every where, to keep order and 



WALKS IN LONDON. 



133 



prevent nuisances. Such as carried burdens abandoned 
the side-walk, and kept to the middle of the street. Hence 
there was no danger whatever of being buried under a bale, 
of being struck in the head by the corner of a box or ladder, 
at the risk of having one's bumps displaced, and character 
revolutionized for life. 



CHAPTER XL 



DRURY-LANE THEATRE. 

Conversation at Dinner — Entrance to Theatre — Appearance of House— 
The Audience — The Play — Saloon — Picture of Morals — Midnight Seem 
in the Streets. 

I was not destined to eat my second dinner in London 
alone, nor to pass the night in the coffee-room of the Colon- 
nade, in solitude and despair. My worthy shipmate and 
countryman came most happily to my rescue, and we ate 
our dinner quietly together in a corner. It was not luxu- 
rious; it was not after the fashion of Paris, Bourdeaux, or 
Milan; of many places whose names recall a thousand de- 
parted joys to my palate; still it was served with so much 
order, and such scrupulous neatness and propriety, that I 
felt no disposition to regret the more varied, the more 
abundant, and better-cooked repasts of our own crowded 
ordinaries. It was, moreover, seasoned with some tole- 
rable sherry, temperately taken, and a flow of agreeable 
conversation. 

3Iy friend had been much in England, and it was not a 
little in favour of the country that, being a man of quick 



DRURY-LANE THEATRE. 



135 



perception, sound understanding, and honest heart, who 
had, moreover, enjoyed in his rambles in many lands, indeed 
in almost all, opportunities of extensive and liberal obser- 
vation, he was disposed to award to this country, which he 
knew intimately, the tribute of his respect and admiration. 
In his journey from Portsmouth to London on the previous 
Saturday, he had found many towns, and particularly 
Guildford, in all the bustle and animation of the weekly 
market. The surrounding county of Surrey had poured 
in its throngs of sturdy cultivators. He fell into ecstasies 
as he described their good looks, their air of health and con 
tentment, and the scrupulous cleanliness of their attire. He 
concluded by pronouncing them physically the finest race 
in the world. 

My worthy friend had well-nigh passed that age when 
amorous vagaries find open access to the breast, and the 
soul is captivated and carried away by the sight of a happy 
combination of features, a glorious bust, or the twinkling of 
a well-turned and taking ankle. He was, moreover, an in- 
veterate votary of tobacco; that luring, love-killing, weed, 
which makes a man oblivious and regardless of all else ; 
whose dreamy fumes and curling vapour dismiss the idea 
of creature comforts of another kind, and substitute them- 
selves for the joys of wife and bairns. But the reader must 
hot do my friend the injustice to fancy that he chewed the 
hated weed. He only smoked, and then none but the most 
fragrant Havannas. I was going to say, that though past the 
period when woman has the greatest power to stir the heart, 
and, moreover, an inveterate smoker, yet he contrived to 
work himself into no inconsiderable ecstasy as he went on, 
not only to praise the fine-looking men that he had seen, 
but to eulogize and proclaim the rustic and sturdy charms of 
die women of Sussex and Surrey. 

Our dinner over, and our discussion dismissed, we drove 



136 



DKURY-LANE THEATRE. 



to the Drury Lane Theatre. Long ere we approached it, 
we were assailed by needy wretches of either sex, running 
by the side of the coach, holding up the programme, and 
striking against the v/indows, their object being to sell us the 
bill and get two-pence, which, of course, was not all profit. 
Fearing that they might be crushed in the press, we fur- 
nished ourselves with a bill each, to hold to the windows 
when others came to off er them. Another seeker of pennies 
opened the door for us as we reached the portico, which 
seemed in a noble style of architecture, but much blackened 
by the smoke of the neighbourhood. The street was very 
filthy, and ill odours met the nostrils in every direction ; 
groups of squalid wretches, easily recognised as thieves and 
courtesans, were prowling about in search of prey. 

The entrance to the theatre is spacious and noble, with 
a very fine stairway, appropriately surmounted by a statue 
of the bard of Avon. I do not now remember whether it 
were with this or the Covent Garden Theatre that I was 
particularly struck, and most favourably impressed with its 
grandeur and beauty. My recollections of the audience are 
more distinct. It did not seem composed of fashionable 
people, and a distinguished air was scarce any where to be 
seen. Yet the women were in general well-dressed in the 
French taste, except the hair, which hung about according 
to individual caprice, but generally in a very neglected con- 
dition ; the neglect being of course a studied one. There 
was, however, no want of personal beauty; indeed, I thought 
I had never seen such a collection of good looks, and came 
then to a conclusion, which was confirmed by all my sub- 
sequent experience, that no women that I had ever seen 
make so good an appearance in a theatre as the English. 
I was struck with the gracefulness of the busts, the fine 
shape of the necks, the richness and freshness of the com- 
plexions, the redundant luxuriance and fine teints of the 



DRURY-LANE THEATRE. 



137 



hair, united to a cast of head and an arrangement of features 
which, when they were not elegantly and finely turned, had 
at least great beauty of expression. 

The piece for the night was " Our Neighbour's Wife 
a succession of scenes of low intrigue, laid in the class of 
tradespeople of the metropolis, such as probably composed 
the chief part of the audience, and who, under the cover of 
the incognito afforded by the vast extent of London, were 
enabled to laugh at their own caricature without the risk of 
detection. The actors were very much the same as with 
us ; that is, very coarse and vulgar, and very deficient in 
the grace, good-breeding, and truth to nature which cha- 
racterize the stage of France and Italy. The Italian stage, 
and particularly the opera — for the Italians have also their 
pure drama, though every body may not be aware of it, 
— witness the charming theatre of the Fiorentini at Naples 
— has often been reproached for its absurdity. But I never 
had seen any thing so calculated to destroy all illusion, as 
the manner in which the actors supposed to be concealed 
in this piece, thrust themselves before the eyes of those they 
were desirous to avoid, or the loud tone in which they 
uttered that which one was required to fancy said apart. 
The loudest talker, indeed, was a favourite buffoon, who 
was supposed to be visible only to the audience. 

From first to last the play was most plentifully inter- 
spersed with low, coarse, traditional stage-jokes, execrable, 
atrocious puns and playing upon words, and vulgar and 
indecent equivoques; while ever and anon a stout and strong 
backed actor would grasp one of the lusty wenches, who, 
after a feigned struggle to escape, would give over her 
coyness, and yield to his embrace, meeting him mouth to 
mouth, and firing off between them a volley of kisses that 
would ring round the theatre like the report of a pistol. 
These amorous feats were ever received with the most rap- 



DUL RY-LANE THEATRE. 



turous applause, and the whole house would echo with de- 
light from pit to gallery. The lewd jokes seemed only less 
acceptable. They drew an invariable burst of applause from 
the men, a half-suppressed titter from the matrons, and over- 
whelmed the young women with an interesting, disturbed, 
downcast look of niaiserie and confusion, which seemed 
to be enjoyed by the cavaliers who accompanied them. It 
was evident they understood and were sufficiently knowing 
to be in a condition to relish the joke, were it not improper 
to do so. I thought of other women that I had seen, and 
what would have been their manner in a situation thus em- 
barrassing. I pictured to myself their absent air of uncon- 
sciousness, their haughty indifference, their proud compo- 
sure, having its origin alike in a true sense of modesty, and 
in the dictates of good taste. 

Between the acts we loitered into the magnificent saloons 
They were vast, lofty, having busts, statues, and columns, 
and being most elegantly furnished. Though immediately 
adjoining the boxes, these were not frequented by ladies, 
who were occasionally abandoned to themselves, while the 
gentlemen walked there. This magnificent retreat is set 
apart as the recognised resort of abandoned women, who, 
in consideration of their being so, are admitted at an inferior 
charge with season tickets. They were large, fine-looking, 
richly, though often indecently dressed, from their bodies 
being half exposed. They were lounging on benches, lean- 
ing against the columns, or reclining upon luxurious otto- 
mans. Nor was it only here that they exhibited themselves. 
Many of them were in the second row of boxes, intermin- 
gled with ladies and young persons of a very tender age, 
and often engaged in no very measured or ambiguous 
dalliance with the persons near them. This spectacle ar- 
gued extreme coldness of temperament, as well in those 
who dallied as in those who looked on. It struck me as 



DRUm LANE THEATRE. 



being, indeed, the most extraordinary scene I had ever 
beheld. How edifying to the young boarding-school misses 
who might be present ! It was not necessary that they 
should go into the saloon, or look in as they passed, or ob- 
serve what was going forward on the stairway and surround- 
ing galleries; every thing was visible, and necessarily vis- 
ible too, from their seats. What with the kisses on the 
stage and the kisses off it, the evidences on all sides of un- 
bridled licentiousness, the scene was such a one as in all 
my wanderings I had never beheld, and which could only 
be equalled by the traditionary revels of Cythera in ancient 
times, or the real and well-attested cones of the Marquesas 
in our own. 

The after-piece was Black-eyed Susan, in which the part 
of William was most admirably played. I never have seen 
such a sailor on the stage ; and the evident favour with 
which he was received by the audience, partly on account 
of the accurate performance, partly for the sake of the cha- 
racter, gave me but a fair foretaste of the feeling of partia- 
lity towards sailors and the sea, which I found pervading all 
classes in England. This actor, whose name I believe was 
Cooper, possessed a most intimate knowledge of that pecu- 
liar personage the British tar. He must either have been 
a sailor himself, or else made many a tour of observation to 
Wapping and the Docks. I heard, indeed, that he had once 
been a midshipman. It was certainly better to be a player 
of some note, than a midshipman without friends. A young 
midshipman is a reasonable thing enough ; but a midship- 
man of fifty, with children or grand-children, such as there 
are a few in the Royal Navy, is somewhat too absurd. 

On leaving the theatre, the gloomy and miry streets pre- 
sented a scene of unbounded licentiousness. Rogues, cour- 
tesans, and beggars thronged on every side, obstructed the 
way, and shocked the ear with words of disgusting inde- 



I 10 



DRURY-LANE THEATRE. 



cency. Not satisfied with words, they assailed those who 
passed with gallantry of a more practical kind. Verily, 
there was some truth in that Frenchman, who, in explaining 
the difference between Paris and London, decided that it 
consisted chiefly in the fact that there were enjoyments 
which could be procured in Paris if you desired them; but 
that in London you must submit to them, whether you would 
or not. Many of these women limited their assaults to 
supplications for the price of a drink ; and on being gratified, 
hastened at once to a neighbouring finish or a gin-shop, 
already filled with crowds of both sexes, and resounding 
with drunken clamour and debauchery. 



* 



CHAPTER XII. 



WALK TO THE CITY. 

St. Martin's in the Fields — Strand — Waterloo Bridge — Temple Bar — 
Shops — Ludgate Hill — St. Paul's — Interior — Unsnited for Reformed 
Worship— Monuments— Whispering Gallery —Dome — View of London. 

After breakfast the next day, I was joined by my friend 
for a ramble to a very different quarter of London from 
that which I had as yet seen, being to the City, so called ; 
the scene of trade and money-making on a great scale. 
Leaving the hotel, we made our way among various club- 
houses and noble edifices to Charing-Ooss. Here we paused 
a moment to admire the beautiful church of St. Martin's 
in the Fields. It is an imposing structure, with a colonnade 
pediment, and spire, reminding me much of the better de- 
scription of churches in my own country, except that it was 
on a somewhat larger scale, and the execution far more 
costly and massive. The effect of its beauty was, however, 
greatly marred by the coal smoke, which had blackened it 
completely, except in a few places where the courses of the 
rain had kept the stone clean, leaving an occasional streak, 
which rendered the effect of the rest more strikingly dis- 
agreeable. We cannot sufficiently appreciate the advantage 



142 



W ALK TO THE CITY. 



we enjoy in this respect from the absence of smoke in our 
cities, owing to the different character of the fuel, and the 
elasticity of the atmosphere. Nothing, indeed, can be more 
striking and conducive to the complete effect of fine ar- 
chitecture, than the brilliant appearance of our marble 
structures when shone on by a bright sun, and relieved 
against the deep blue of the unclouded sky; or when seen 
at night by the sadder and more poetic illumination of the 
moon. 

At Charing Cross a great many principal streets unite to 
pour the full Hood of their ever-moving currents into the 
broad avenue of the Strand. As we were about to enter 
this last, we glanced for a moment at the front of North- 
umberland House, surmounted by the proud lion which 
guards the arms of that lordly family. The Strand is a very 
line, wide street, with spacious, convenient side-walks, and 
flanked by well-built modern edifices on either hand. The 
lower lloors are occupied as shops, and the display of goods 
is costly and brilliant. Among the signs I recognised that 
of Deville, who unites the two dissimilar occupations oi 
lamp-seller and phrenologist. I had the greatest possible 
curiosity to consult this celebrated oracle, and put my head 
under his skilful fingers. If he had given me a good ac- 
count of my bumps, I should have been proud and glorious, 
and might possibly have been encouraged to turn them to 
some account. But I greatly feared his furnishing me with 
cause to magnify the ill opinion which I already entertained 
of myself. 

The Strand runs parallel to the river, which is at no 
great distance. We walked down one of the short streets 
leading to it, and found that instead of a quay or thorough- 
fare along it, it was Hanked by squalid and unsightly build- 
ings. Formerly this part of the town was the favourite 
abode of the nobility. Their mansions looked towards the 



WALK TO THE CITY 



14:'. 



Strand, while the space between them and the river was 
formed into gardens. Terraces and steps conducted to the 
level of the stream, which then formed the great highway, 
and was covered by barges, rowed by watermen wearing 
the liveries of their masters, who used this as their con- 
veyance in going to the court at Whitehall. 

Ere long we reached a spacious and beautiful street, in- 
tersecting the Strand, and leading to a bridge over the river. 
This was Wellington-street and the famous Waterloo-bridge, 
both improvements of our own times, as their names indi- 
cate. The bridge is anoble and beautiful object ; the arches 
being all of the same height, and the road above quite level, 
which produces a line effect. It is built of granite; and 
strength, beauty, and elegance, are all blended in its ap- 
pearance. Flights of steps of neat construction lead to the 
level of the river beside the abutments ; line side-walks are 
raised above the carriage- road on either hand, furnishing 
a delightful promenade, overlooking the river and its banks; 
over each abutment of the arches are gas lamps of a clas- 
sical form, and at the extremities are two neat Doric lodges 
for the convenience of the keepers, which complete the sym- 
metric effect of the whole. The foot-passengers, on enter- 
ing the bridge, pass through a neat iron turnstile, which 
is connected with the machinery of a recording-clock, locked 
up in the lodge, and not accessible to the keepers. This, 
by keeping an accurate account of all who enter, protects 
the company against the fraud of the keepers in delivering 
in the amount of their receipts. This is certainly a most 
ingenious contrivance. It is a monument at once of human 
ingenuity and human baseness, and furnishes food for reflec- 
tion on the degradation of the humbler classes in England. 
Why is it that the man who keeps the key of the clock can 
be trusted, and the humbler dependants cannot ? Because, 
being sufficiently paid, probably, he can afford to be just, and 



I 14 



W ALK TO THE C1TV 



can be honest without starving; whereas the other finds in 
his poverty a perpetual temptation. Poverty, the inadequacy 
of a man's means to the comfortable support of his body, 
and the disproportion between labour and its just reward of 
wages, are the causes of the dishonesty with which this land 
teems; and tend to extend it by custom, example, and the 
freedom from shame which a wide diffusion begets, until it 
has become a system. There is no country where mecha- 
nical ingenuity is more abounding and has achieved greater 
triumphs than with us; yet such a contrivance as this is the 
very last that would have been invented there. And I do 
not believe that a native-born American, however humble, 
could be found to submit to the insult of being penny-col- 
lector to such an accountant as this, and thus to acquiesce 
in his own dishonesty. 

Just below the Waterloo Bridge stands the magnificent 
palace of Somerset House, a noble and imposing quadrangle, 
having one side on the river and the other on the Strand, 
and a spacious court in the centre. Once the abode of roy- 
alty, it is now appropriated to the meetings of the Royal 
Society, and the exhibitions of the Academy of painters. 
As we traversed the broad avenue of the Strand, it narrowed 
down to an inconsiderable street in approaching Temple 
Bar, which forms the boundary of the city of London, and 
the limit, in this direction, of the formidable jurisdiction of 
its Corporation. Here the heads of persons executed for 
high treason were formerly exposed to view ; and here 
still, the Corporation of London is wont to receive the King 
on his visits to the City; the Lord Mayor delivering to him 
his sword of state as a symbol of authority in the city. 
This gateway is very elegant in its form, but is blackened 
by the coal-smoke in the same way with Somerset House 
and other buildings I had already seen, except that a more 
Jawny hue indicated a nearer approach to the heart of this 



WALK TO THE CITY. 



145 



great metropolis. In niches on either hand, surmounting 
the posterns, are statues of the two Charleses. Besides the 
arches on the side-walk for foot-passengers, there are 
larger gateways for the vehicles, which here, concentrated 
and crowded together, pour through in two continuous 
files. There is a vast deal of time lost here; and if there 
be not a great thoroughfare opened ere long to the city in 
this direction to take off part of the crowd, Temple Bar will 
be very apt to yield to the impatience of the age, and, not- 
withstanding its venerable associations, to come lumbering 
to the ground. 

Beyond Temple Bar the road assumed the name of Fleet- 
street. It was of more ancient date and less well built than 
the Strand ; but not less abounding in population, activity, 
and the multiplied emblems of wealth. I was much struck 
with the brilliancy of the shops the whole way to the heart 
of the City. Many of them, instead of the ordinary panes 
of glass, had, for the better exhibition of their goods, large 
plates, of the most costly description, such as are used for 
mirrors, each of them being worth some pounds sterling. 
The goods were opened out, and tastefully and temptingly 
exposed to view. There was a much greater subdivision 
of business and classification of pursuits than with us. A 
splendidly fitted building would be devoted exclusively to 
the exposition and sale of the single article of shawls, and 
the same with every thing else. My friend told me that so 
great is the extent of business here, and so enormous the 
transactions, that though dealers are satisfied with much 
less profit than with us, they yet realize the most colossal 
fortunes. They do not change their mode of living, and 
begin to incur extravagant expense so soon as with us ; 
but live on in a quiet and comfortable way, training up 
their children, though often inheritors of a princely fortune, 
to the same occupation with themselves, and keeping up 

10 



i4b 



WALK TO THE CITV. 



well-known establishments in the same family from father 

to son. 

In the course of our walk, he pointed out the establish- 
ment of a man who had become a millionaire by the sale 
of linen ; told me of another who was a hosier, and at the 
same time the possessor of the finest stud of horses in the 
world, and who thought nothing of giving five or six thou- 
sand guineas for a great winner at Epsom or Doncaster, in 
order to improve his breeding stock. He had sold stock- 
ings by the pair all the days of his life, and was bringing up 
his son to sell stockings when he should be no more. A 
gloomy-looking shop, without show or external ornament 
of any sort, was pointed out to me as the establishment of 
the jewellers and silversmiths to the King. Here are per- 
petually deposited enormous quantities of plate, either their 
own, or on which they have advanced money, or else for 
safe-keeping during the absence of the owners from their 
mansions. It was through some advance of money or 
mortgage that this house came in possession of extensive 
and valuable coal-mines in New-Brunswick, of which the 
mere agencies are making people rich in some of our At- 
lantic cities. 

The crowd thickened as we advanced; embarrassments 
were perpetually occurring, and the scene of bustle and 
confusion was sickening and overpowering, connected with 
the blackness of all surrounding objects, and the deep gloom 
which, though the day was not in itself unpleasant, the 
canopy of overhanging smoke cast over the whole scene. 
The people had a grave and serious air ; every body ex- 
cept myself seemed to know exactly what he was in search 
of, and to have no doubt where and on what errand he 
was going. Among the groups I here saw a beggarly bat- 
talion of poor exiles of Erin, grotesquely dressed, and sal- 
lying out of a newly-established shop with enormous pla- 



WALK TO THE CITY. 



147 



♦ •aids on their shoulders, written over with extravagant 
puffs of the establishment that employed them to take their 
stands in various parts of the tow n. 

In Ludgate Hill the shops were still more elegant and 
costly; but ere long my attention was withdrawn from 
them by a huge dark object which broke through the smoke, 
closing the view at the termination of the hill; presently it 
assumed the shape of a dome, and its collossal proportions 
told me that it could be only St. Paul's. Though the beauty 
of this object was impaired by the partial manner in which 
it was seen at the termination of a street not sufficiently 
wide to take in more than half of it, yet its size and grandeur 
were singularly relieved by the comparison with the lofty 
houses on either hand, which sunk into insignificance in 
the comparison. 

This first view of the mighty temple affected me not only 
with an impression of great grandeur, but also of extreme 
beauty. The facade consists of a pediment sustained by 
a double colonnade, and flanked by two towers, which, 
though not particularly beautiful in themselves, harmonize 
well with the rest of the edifice, and give effect to the gran- 
deur of the vast dome, which, rising from the centre of 
the cross, for in this form the temple is constructed, is seen 
emerging between these two inferior towers, and swelling 
nobly and grandly high into mid heaven. All the orna- 
ments disposed about the edifice struck me as appropriate 
and in good taste. The conversion of St. Paul is sculp- 
tured in relief upon the pediment; statues of the Evangelists 
look down from the angles, while high over roof, and 
dome, and lantern, is seen the simple emblem of our faith, 
displayed in solitary and unapproached elevation against 
the sky. 

In front of the Cathedral formerly stood that famous 
Paul's Cross whence sermons were preached to the people 

10 * 



148 



WALK TO THE CITV 



in the open air, and where politics and religion were mixed 
up in a manner to which the present time is a stranger. 
These sermons were not only attended by the Corporation 
of London, but often by the King in person. The site is 
now occupied by a fine statue of Queen Ann. This, though 
of marble, was in a sadly dirty condition. The queen's 
cheeks indeed were clean, and some parts of her robe most 
exposed to the rain, but her nose would have been the 
better for the handkerchief. The opposite effects of the 
smoke and rain upon the whole edifice, which is of Port- 
land stone, were very disfiguring ; but on the statues it was 
singularly grotesque. It produced the effect of colouring 
and shading, which imparted a certain reality to them, 
which, with their half-dirty, shabby-genteel look, was very 
ludicrous. 

As the day was finer, according to my companion, than we 
were likely to have again for months to come, I determined 
to make use of so good an occasion to see the Cathedral, 
and enjoy the prospect from the lantern. My friend having 
already achieved this feat, and having no desire to repeat 
it, arranged to meet me at a certain hour at the Exchange 
Within the door I was encountered, face to face, by a fat 
porter, whose whole appearance indicated that religion was 
as good a trade here as in other countries where it is sup- 
posed to be better. He had the softest, though not the most 
expressive face in the world; a mere ball of flesh indeed, 
perforated at the eyes and mouth, and projecting slightly 
at the point where the nose is usually placed. He offered 
me tickets for various parts of the buildings, and other at- 
tendants, men or women, proffered tickets in like manner 
for the rest; that for the dome being half-a-crown, and the 
whole together about five shillings; each particular object 
having its particular price set on it ; the whispering-gallery, 
the library, the great bell, down to the remains of the hero 



WALK TO THE CITY. 



Nelson, which are exhibited to Englishmen at a shilling the 
head. 

On stepping into the centre of the cathedral to observe it, 
as well as the impertinence of a fellow who began explain- 
ing every thing in a set speech delivered through his nose, 
and in which the letter h was only used before such vowels 
as could justly lay no claim to it, would permit me, I dis- 
covered that the building was in the form of a cross, having, 
in its greater length, a principal nave, divided from two side 
aisles by rows of massive pillars. Over the intersection of 
the nave and transept, swells the noble dome which I had 
admired from without. It is painted in fresco, with subjects 
taken from the life of the patron saint, while from the gal- 
lery, which runs round the base, are hung out various 
trophies, the tattered banners which Nelson and his com- 
peers had captured from the enemies of England. 

The eastern portion of the nave, forming the head of the 
cross, is divided entirely from the rest of the temple by a 
heavy screen, surmounted by an organ. This forms a church 
by itself; for it is within this that the customary service is 
alone performed. The part of the edifice without has no 
connexion whatever with the religious uses and devotional 
exercises for which it was erected. The effect and unity of 
the whole building are entirely destroyed by this subdivision, 
which could have formed no part ofthe design of the architect. 
I saw reason to think, in contemplating this building, that a 
grand and imposing style of architecture is not adapted to our 
colloquial religion, which requires for its exercise a small 
snug place, not remote from the clergyman, who is apt to 
accede to no inconsiderable share of the homage and ado- 
ration, soft backs to lean against, and well-stuffed kneeling- 
cushions, so that devotion may go on without personal in- 
convenience or discomfort. The interior arrangement of 
this choir suggested comparisons between some of the ex- 



J 50 



WALK TO THE CITY. 



ternal appendages of the Catholic and Reformed religions?, 
not by any means advantageous to the latter. 

The altar, if indeed there might be said to be any, was 
totally hidden by the pulpit; while on either hand were 
magnificent thrones for the reception of the Bishop of Lon- 
don and the Lord Mayor, with rich stalls for the City Alder- 
men. There was every thing to impress the spectator with 
the w orldly grandeur of our fellow-worms, and nothing to 
call to mind the recollection of Him for whose worship 
this proud temple had arisen. Every thing tended to keep 
alive the idea of worldly distinction, instead of inculcating a 
lesson of common and universal humility in the presence 
of the Eternal. Though so ill adapted for the exercise of 
the reformed worship, St. Paul's would serve nobly to give 
effect to the splendid ceremonial of the Roman Church. 
Were the screen removed, the organ placed at one side, 
the heavy pulpit, standing in the centre and obtruding the 
view of the altar, replaced by one of lighter construction, 
standing against a column at one side, and the whole view 
left unbroken from the door, what unnumbered thousands 
of the faithful might then fill the vast area, contemplating the 
ceremony which commemorates the sacrifice which has 
saved them, as the noble anthem fills the nave and rever- 
berates in the hollow of the dome, their souls melting with 
devotion, and all offering to Heaven the incense of a com- 
mon adoration! 

Loitering about the aisles and angles of the vast pile, 1 
paused to look at various monuments here erected to the 
memory of the illustrious dead. Among other honoured 
names, I read those of Dr. Johnson, and Howard the phi- 
lanthropist; but the greater number were those of naval and 
military heroes. That of Johnson and a few others were 
well executed; but, for the most part, they were execrably 
bad in design and of worse execution. Almost all of them 



WALK TO THE CITY. 



151 



represented land or sea officers in the act of dying in battle. 
Some had their uniforms and epaulets ; some were naked ; 
all, however, were encouraged by Britannia, or some other 
female genius, who stood over them in the act of crowning 
them with a wreath of laurel, but having more the air of 
, being bent on the merciful errand of taking them out of pain 
by knocking their brains out with a powerful fist, armed 
with a great stone. 

Jf, however, the sculpture were for the most part bad, the 
inscriptions struck me as being in most instances beautiful; 
those of Johnson and of Nelson pleased me greatly; and, as 
I stood in the centre of this mighty temple, with the dome 
overhead, and whatever is grand and imposing around me, 
I first fully appreciated the noble simplicity and beauty of 
that inscription in honour of the architect, which I had be- 
fore so often thought of and so greatly admired. My coun- 
trymen are doubtless aware that there is no monument, 
either here or elsewhere, to the architect who designed, 
began, and finished this stupendous edific#. Over the en- 
trance to the choir is a brief inscription to the following ef- 
fect: — "Here beneath lies Christopher Wren, builder of 
this Church and City, who lived more than ninety years, not 
for his own, but the public good. Reader ! if you seek his 
monument, — look around you !" 

Having partially satisfied my curiosity below, I was very 
glad to escape the pestering and intrusive horde of show- 
men, and make my way up to the whispering-gallery which 
encircles the dome. A neat iron railing runs round the cir- 
cuit of the cornice and forms a secure promenade, whence 
you contemplate the dome and its storied frescoes above, 
or look down with dizzy wonder on the pavement and the 
loitering visitors beneath your feet. Having reached the 
point immediately opposite the entrance to the gallery, I was 
invited, with several others who happened to be there, to 



152 



WALK TO THE CITY . 



sit down and put my head to the wall. We obeyed ; and 
presently we heard the whisperer say very audibly, " This 
church was built by Sir Christopher Wren. It was finish- 
ed in thirty-five years, having only one architect, one master- 
masOn p.nd during the lifetime of one bishop of London. It 
cost one million five hundred thousand pounds. The sound 
of this little door" — here he illustrated what he was going to 
say by bringing it to, with a tremendous jar — " is as loud as 
the report of the heaviest cannon." This done, he went 
on to describe the skylight, the frescoes, and all else. I 
thought him particularly civil, and he spoke moreover very 
tolerable English. Nothing indeed could equal the grace 
and courtesy with which, when I was going out, he inclined 
his head, saying, with a winning unction, "If you please to 
leave any thing for the whisperer, sir, that is at your 
pleasure." 

Having seen the library, the great bell, the trophies and 
tinsel ornaments used in the funeral of Nelson, and the 
model which irrftodies Wren's original and favourite idea 
for the plan of this church, and which, however I had 
heard it praised, struck me as less simple and less beautiful 
than that which was eventually adopted, I continued the 
ascent upwards, in search of the view from the summit. 
As I advanced laboriously, I had time to study and to ad-, 
mire the construction of the dome, which is very extraor- 
dinary. 

It consists of three separate shells springing from a com- 
mon base, but separatingand becomingdistinct and detached 
at the top. The inner one, which forms the dome as seen 
from within, is of hemispheric form. It is built of brick. 
A short distance from its base, a second dome, likewise of 
brick, springs from the first, and ascending with a curve of 
a much greater circle, goes far above the inner shell, ter- 
minating in the key-stone and lantern which supports. 



WALK TO Tllfc CITY 



the ball. Still encompassing this second shell is a third, 
which constitutes the dome as seem fron without, and 
whose curve is thought to be singularly beautiful. It is 
formed of wood and iron, most ingeniously combined, and 
protected from the weather by a sheathing of lead. It is 
ribbed and subdivided, not unlike an orange after the outer 
peel is removed. Making my way upwards between the 
two interior shells of this singular construction, I did not 
pause until I found myself at the very summit in the ball 
itself, into which I dragged myself with somewhat more 
difficulty than in going through the lubber's hole, by per- 
pendicular steps. This ball, which is constructed of copper, 
is very ingenious, and, no doubt, very strong also, though, 
as the wind rushed through it and around it with a noise 
not unlike that of split canvass, or when whistling through 
the blocks and rigging, and the whole swayed, and yielded, 
and vibrated sensibly, I indulged in speculations concern- 
ing the probable result of an aerial voyage in this copper 
balloon should it detach itself, and how one would feel 
while on the journey to the churchyard at the bottom, and 
the particular shape that the balloon would be likely to 
assume, as well as that of my own wool-gathering head, 
when they should come to examine us. To these specula- 
tions, the din of the world below, the vibrating and percep- 
tible twitching of the ball, and the mournful sighing of the 
wind as I seemed to sail madly through it, gave a nervous 
and exciting, yet, strange to say, by no means displeasing 
reality. 

Descending from the ball, I presently entered upon a 
light gallery which circles the top of the dome at the base 
of the lantern. This is the station from which the most ex- 
tensive and complete view of London is commanded. The 
elevation of the eye enables it to overlook an extent of the 



154 



WALK TO THE CITY 



surrounding country, bounded only by the limits of the 
horizon. There are, however, sufficient obstructions in the 
way of an extensive view ; one of which is the prevailing 
haziness of the atmosphere even in the finest weather, and 
the other the gloom imparted to the peculiar atmosphere 
of this vast metropolis by the use of coal as the sole article 
of fuel. In line weather, however, in midsummer, when 
the days are the longest, and fires are only necessary for 
culinary purposes, and at the rising of the sun, when they 
are not yet lit, it is possible to obtain a view of some extent 
from the dome of St. Paul's. 

It was in this way that the laborious and talented artist 
who has so nobly executed the panorama of London, which 
strangers should first visit for the purpose of learning some- 
thing of the metropolis, was able to make the drawings 
which he has since expanded into the master-piece exhi- 
bited in the Coliseum. In order to accomplish his object 
he is said to have lived for a year or more in the dome of 
St. Paul's, for the purpose of being at his post at the early 
hour at which alone any thing is distinctly visible. 

My attention was first attracted to the noble object upon 
which I stood pinnacled, the dome and the church below. 
The roof was flat, leaded, and having canals and conduits 
ingeniously contrived to carry off the water ; the towers on 
the front, though in any other situation they would be com- 
manding objects, were dwindled into insignificance from 
this elevation of near three hundred and fifty feet ; and the 
statue of St. Paul seemed the merest pigmy, though com- 
posed of enormous masses of stone strongly clamped toge- 
ther with iron. Extending my view beyond the Cathedral, 
I fancied that I could trace out the situation of London in a 
species of basin enclosing the Thames, and surrounded by 
in amphitheatre of hills, so low as scarcely to merit the 



WALK TO TllL ( IT\ 



155 



name. The whole of this immense space was covered with 
the habitations of man. In general they were roofed with 
red tile or black slate ; and from every chimney arose a 
thread of fleecy smoke, w r hich, incorporating itself with the 
black canopy which overspread the metropolis, overhung the 
whole scene with a species of secondary and artificial night, 
which seemed to give the lie to the noonday sun, whose 
rays, struggling through at various points, were strangely 
reflected from the slate roofs on which they shone. 

The mass of habitations was every where interspersed 
with the steeples of churches j one which was pointed out 
to me as being St. Dunstan's, alone struck me as being cu- 
rious, and there was not one which conveyed the impres- 
sion of any beauty ; indeed, throughout my whole morning's 
walk, I had only seen one church which was not absolutely 
ill-looking. Intermingled with the steeples, chimneys of 
enormous height rose solitary and unsustained. They were 
connected with steam-engines and manufactories, and were 
perpetually vomiting forth, as if in rivalry, a smoke as dense 
and infernal as that of Vesuvius when on the eve of an ir- 
ruption. 

On all sides, as far as the eye could reach, the solid mass 
was seen to extend itself, except only in the direction of the 
wind, where the smoke being less, it was possible to deter- 
mine its limits. Even there the compact masses of build- 
ing continued along the great avenues, occasionally expand- 
ing into vast suburbs. The frequent occurrence of reserved 
squares, pjanted with trees, and set apart as promenades 
for the recreation of the neighbouring inhabitants, was the 
most pleasing feature in the character of a scene which had 
little in it that was attractive. To be sure, they were ai 
that season stripped of their foliage, and without verdure 
to delight the eye ; but they conveyed to the mind assurance 



]5o 



WALK TO THE CITY. 



that the idea of health, comfort, and embellishment, found 
a place in the thoughts of this busy throng, and that amid 
all the triumphs of utility, something had been conceded to 
the dictates of good taste. 

By far the most conspicuous object in the scene was the 
river. It wound its way through the vast metropolis like a 
huge artery, serving to entertain health and cleanliness, and 
to furnish a ready and convenient communication. Many 
bridges, some of them beautiful, and all of them pictur- 
esque, spanned the stream, and opened a passage for throng- 
ing multitudes from bank to bank, while trim wherries, 
borne quickly by the tide, and the efforts of the glancing oar, 
were seen shooting the bridges and darting at right angles 
to the rapid vehicles above; coal-boats and river-craft might 
be seen moving more sluggishly, and lowering their masts 
with their darkly-tanned sails as they approached the 
arches. 

Below the last bridge the scene was of a different cha- 
racter, for there the port of London might be said to com- 
mence, and commerce displayed herself in her most active 
imposing forms. Far in the distance, a forest of masts and 
yards mingling with habitations, showed where stood those 
immense artificial basins, the docks of London, which the 
enterprise of her citizens has hollowed out to give security 
to commerce. Opposite to the entrances of these, large 
ships might be seen preparing to descend the river and put 
to sea; or, having just arrived, making ready to haul into 
dock and deliver up the freighted luxuries ^hich they 
were bringing as a tribute from the remotest corners of the 
world. Between these and the London bridge were masses 
of inferior vessels, lying in solid tiers and moored head and 
stern. There were colliers and coasting-vessels, which 
were discharging their cargoes in lighters, to be carried 



WALK TO THE CITT. 157 

I 

to the various eoal-yards along the river, to supply, with 
one of its most urgent and universal wants, so vast a popu- 
lation. 

Unnumbered steamers were rapidly glancing over the 
crowded thoroughfare, and the muddy, unsightly stream, as 
it swept away the pollutions of such an overgrown metro- 
polis, and wound its way between banks lined with the 
most ill-built, ruinous, and squalid edifices, if not an object 
of pleasing contemplation, yet offered a scene of unbound- 
ed animation and activity. 

In this respect it was nowise inferior to the movement, 
in another sense, which was going on in the streets below, 
especially inthat great thoroughfare which, connecting Lud- 
gate Hill with Cheapside, half encircled St. Paul's. Here 
were equipages of every possible kind, and all sorts of ve- 
hicles, whether luxurious or useful. The noises were un- 
bounded and deafening ; for this was the most busy and 
populous part of the busiest and most populous city in the 
world. The bells rang; the wheels clattered; the hoofs of 
the struggling horses resounded on the pavement, and the 
elegant cads offered their services in carrying the by-standers 
to Kensington or the Bank ; while the horn-blowiug noses 
of Jew pedlers resounded perpetually and unvaryingly with 
" Clas ! Clas! Gas!" I was deafened by the clamour, dis- 
heartened, and overcome. The noise, the atmosphere, the 
combination of odours, the smoke and sooty particles which 
floated in the air, and which had reduced my face and 
linen to the sooty condition of almost every thing I saw, all 
combined to overpower me with languor and exhaustion. 

Descending in all haste, I at length reached the pavement 
of the church, where the ticket-sellers and showmen were 
importuning two strangers who had just entered, while 
two old women were quarrelling about some spoil, in the 
division of which one of them seemed to have been guilty 



lf)H 



WALK TO THE CITY. 



of treachery, and seemed on the point of coming to blows. 
Having waited in vain with the hope of witnessing a dis- 
tribution of caps and hair, I went forth from that noble 
temple with feelings strangely mingled of admiration at its 
grandeur, of veneration for the genius which had con- 
ceived, and the power which had executed it; with awe for 
that divine religion which could inspire the hearts of men 
to so stupendous an undertaking, and with no unmeasured 
disgust for those faithless stewards of its divine mysteries 
who, already provided with the superabundant means of a 
luxury, such as was unknown to their divine Master, have 
converted this noble temple, which devotion has raised to 
honour God, into a den of thieves and money-changers. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



THE CITY. 

Buildings— Shops — Vehicles — City Population — Bank of England — Stock 
Exchange — Royal Exchange — Lloyd's. 

Having seen St. Paul's Church with the attention that it 
merited, I set forward to complete my unfinished ramble 
city-ward. Making the half circuit of the cathedral, I en- 
tered Cheapside, which continues the throughfare from 
Holborn and Fleet-street to the Bank. On the right, at no 
great distance, stands the celebrated church of St. Mary- 
le-Bow. Though built by Sir Christopher Wren, it has no 
beauty; and is not a little disfigured by a huge clock, pro- 
jecting from the tower forward into the street, like a sign 
from a village inn. It exhibits the hour up and down the 
street as far as the atmosphere will permit the eye to dis- 
tinguish, and no doubt tends, by its friendly admonition, to 
stimulate the impatience of the busy throng who urge for- 
ward in either direction. Bow Church is esteemed the 
very focus of the City. The man who is born within the 
sound of its bells may claim to be a genuine citizen ; and if 
he have never been beyond the reach of the same radius, 
he is a cockney indeed, in whom there is no guile. 



160 



THE CITY. 



Many of the buildings here seemed more ancient than 
any I had yet seen in London; and in looking down some 
of the courts and passages, there were others in which this 
appearance of antiquity was still more striking. Every 
thing spoke of trade and its triumphs. Each house was a 
shop of some sort. Here, as in all other parts of the town, 
the stalls of the butchers, and the sellers of whatever is 
connected with the sustenance of the teeming population, 
were intermingled with the other shops. I was struck, — 
as I had repeatedly been in my walk through the Strand, — 
with the extreme neatness of the fishmongers' stands : they 
were often beautifully fitted, having large, white, cool- 
looking marble slabs to expose the fish on. This is a great 
business in London ; for these fishmongers not only sup- 
port the capital, but also most of the provincial towns, to 
the distance of a hundred miles or more, and sometimes 
even those that are situated on the coast. I was afterward 
assured at Brighton, that most of the fish consumed there 
is drawn from London. It is the great market towards 
which every thing directs itself, secure of an instant pur- 
chase and a regular price. Besides, many of the fishermen 
have standing contracts to supply all that they take to par- 
ticular fishmongers; many of whom have, indeed, large 
fortunes, the fruits of a life of assiduous industry. 

The press in Cheapside was far greater than in the 
Strand, for Holborn had also poured in its tribute of vehi- 
cles and pedestrians. Enormous carts and waggons, drawn 
by horses of corresponding bulk, piled high with merchan- 
dize, and covered with the black and dismal-looking pall of 
a huge tarpaulin, were intermingled with ponderous brew- 
ers' carts, with elephant-like horses, whose size, already 
preposterous, was rendered more so by the contrast of 
donkey or dog carts immediately beside them. There were 
also abundance of stage-coaches, cabs, and omnibuses, and 



THE CITY. 



101 



throngs of the private equipages of the more rich. Many 
of these were elegant; but, in general, they were inferior in 
appearance to those I had seen in Westminster. Some- 
times the coachman and horses had equally a fat, coarse, 
and ill-bred look, and the clumsy and ponderous carriages 
were often ornamented in a preposterous taste, having coats 
of arms of portentous dimensions, covering a whole panel. 
Some horsemen were followed by their grooms, who not 
unfrequently were loutish-looking fellows, bedizened with 
glaring livery, and with a want of completeness in their 
costume, as if they had been taken suddenly from house- 
hold or other duties, and were unequipped for equestrian 
operations, and not at home in the saddle. 

Many citizens rode in tilburies, with their servants beside 
them ; others got over the ground more modestly in gigs, 
drawn by pony horses, and often having very low wheels, to 
accommodate them to the stature of a donkey. This seemed 
to me the next step to not riding at all. I noticed that, 
notwithstanding the moist and rainy character of the climate 
few of the gigs had heads ; whereas with us where it seldom 
rains, and, when it does, not suddenly, and without warn- 
ing or note of preparation, almost all the vehicles of luxury 
are provided with this protection from the weather. I found 
afterward, that English people delight to be in the open air, 
and have a horror of being shut up. Perhaps this is a taste 
which they imbibe in infancy and childhood, from being 
accustomed, in all weathers, to take exercise out of doors 
and to brave the elements. These worthy citizens had a 
bluff, sturdy, and wholesome look : they were well buttoned 
and shawled, and sat up in their gigs with an independent 
air, though I will not answer that they would still have re- 
tained it in the aristocratic, and, to them, humbling atmo- 
sphere of the West End. 

Cheapside brought me to the Poultry, and the Poultry 

u 



THE CITY. 



to Threadneedle-street. Nothing can be more dark, 
gloomy, and overpowering to the soul that delights in bright 
colours, and is alive to the skyey influences, than this region 
of banks, Jews, and money-changers, where merchants 
congregate for the transaction of the weightiest affairs. A 
perpetual twilight reigns over this region, and all the sur- 
rounding objects are of a murky hue; the streets and side- 
walks, which are cumbered with mud, scarce suffice to give 
place to the vast multitude who throng thither to offer sa- 
crifices to mammon. I fancied that I could discover much 
difference between the money-hunters of this region and 
those of similar places in my own country. These were 
fuller, fatter, more rosy, more deliberate, and more staid. 
They seemed very intent, indeed, in the pursuit of gain, but 
by no means so impatient; willing enough to arrive at the 
result, but not disposed to run the risk of breaking the neck 
in the pursuit on the starting up of some unseen stumbling- 
block. In Wall-street the same sort of men would look 
lean, hungry, unquiet; their hands — grasping bonds, stock 
certificates, and promissory notes — would tremble like a 
gambler with his last decisive card, as they might be seen 
crossing the street in a hop and a jump, darting like lightning 
up the steps of a bank or insurance-office, or plunging, like 
an escaping felon, into the low dark den of a broker. 

When I rejoined my friend, he had prepared for me the 
gratification of seeing the Bank. It stood hard by, — a 
gloomy, prison-like building, of simple architecture, without 
external windows, and blackened by the coal smoke. The 
Bank is of quadrangular form, nearly, for its figure is not 
quite regular, nor the angles all right angles ; it contains 
eight open courts. The rotunda is a spacious circular room, 
with a dome and lantern, where all the stock transactions 
were made previous to the erection of the Slock Exchange. 
The prison-like air of the exterior was well sustained by the 



THE CITY 



1<>3 



darkness that reigned within, making lights necessary al- 
most everywhere, by the massive construction of the walls 
and arches, the impregnable character of the doors and 
fastenings, and the air of stillness, quietness, and mysterious 
solemnity which marked the appearance and manner of the 
liveried officials. The wan clerks, whose faces were shone 
upon by the conflicting light from without and from within, 
as they pored over huge tomes, had the air of familiars of 
the Inquisition studying the bloody records of its triumphs. 

Through the politeness of one of the higher functionaries 
we had an opportunity of seeing some of the more secret re- 
cesses of the sanctuary. Thus we were shown into an enor- 
mous vault, piled high with bullion, and where they were 
bringing in on hand-carts some pigs of silver, which had just 
arrived in a cruiser from Mexico, and which was handled 
with as little ceremony as lead, or some other baser though 
more useful metal, to which the consent of the world had 
not given a factitious value. I saw, also, the room in which 
are preserved, and arranged conveniently for reference, all 
the notes that have ever been issued by the Bank; for when- 
ever a note above a certain value — which I believe to be 
ten pounds— is brought to the Bank, it is never re-issued, 
but cancelled, and put on file. 

In another room are kept the more interesting scraps of 
paper which are yet in all the glory of their power. Here 
I was not permitted to enter, not being a Bank director ; 
but the guardian of this precious deposit, thinking to gra- 
tify me, brought me a small bundle, and placing it in my 
hand, told me I held five millions of pounds sterling. As 
I poised the feathery burden, I revolved in my mind the idea 
of all the comforts of various kinds that these bits of paper 
would enable a man to surround himself with. Though I 
could not quite convince myself that contentment would 
surely be of the number, yet I felt for the moment a little 

n * 



164 



THE CITY. 



avaricious. I think it would be a very good idea for a father, 
who was anxious to cherish a money-getting disposition in 
liis son, to conduct him, at the outset of life, to a place like 
this, giving him to poise the paper treasure, while he pic- 
tured to himself its exchangeable value in houses, lands, 
possessions, and equipages, and permitting him to gloat 
over the heaped-up masses of gold and silver that cumber 
the vaults with all the profuse abundance of any common 
commodity. 

In coming out of the Bank by a different door from that 
by which we had gone in, I was struck by the appearance 
of a woman standing beside it, whose dress and countenance 
too surely told of insanity. Her face was thin, wan, and 
corpselike, while the ghastliness of its expression was much 
enhanced by its being most preposterously rouged. This 
effect was further augmented by the contrasting character 
of her dress, which was a deep mourning suit, much faded, 
draggled, and weather-worn. She stood tall and erect be- 
side the door, though poor evidently, yet not with the air 
of a suppliant, but rather like the mistress of some lordly 
mansion, receiving ever and anon, with a nod of welcome 
and of condescension, the guests whom her hospitality had 
summoned. 

I was not at all surprised to hear that she believed the 
Bank, and all in it, to be hers ; indeed, her air and manner had 
already carried me to that conclusion. I was, however, quite 
at fault in my conjectures as to the exciting cause which had 
brought on so great a calamity. I fancied it some oft-told 
tale of sudden reverse of fortune; of possessions swept away 
in a single mad speculation ; an empoverished family, with 
prospects blighted, and hopes irreparably crushed. But 1 
found a melancholy pleasure in discovering that it had its 
origin in something more honourable to her woman's heart. 
It was occasioned by a sudden revulsion of grief and horror 



THE CITY. 



163 



at her brother s being hung for forgery. Her harmless de- 
lusion about the possession of the Bank, which is the only 
remaining comfort of her maniac existence, is nourished and 
kept alive by the benevolence of the officers of the institu- 
tion, who from time to time minister from its funds such little 
sums as are necessary for her maintenance. 

I do not believe in banks ; I think — perhaps it is only a 
prejudice, for I know little about it, — that they give facili- 
ties to individuals and to nations for their own destruction, 
and that of others. My predilections are in favour of hard 
money, and I am an entire convert to the doctrines of Cob- 
bet, that clever and sagacious rogue ; but I think that if be- 
nevolence, exercised with good feeling, and taking counsel 
of good taste, can bring a blessing on one of these institu- 
tions, the Bank of England is surely entitled to one, for fa- 
vouring the delusion, while it ministers to the wants, of this 
poor heart-broken woman. 

The Stock Exchange is at no great distance from the 
Bank. It is a building erected at the expense of the stock 
brokers, where they meet for the purchase and sale of 
stocks, and who form an association, into which no indivi- 
dual is admitted except by ballot, and from which any one 
not meeting his engagements, or paying his losses in the 
gambling and illegal operations which form no inconsi- 
derable portion of what is done here, is liable to disgrace- 
ful exclusion; for here also, as in other similar places, there 
is a sort of sense of honour. 

A distinguished merchant who accompanied us, inquired 
for a broker to whom he was known, in order to place us 
under his convoy, not being desirous to be seen there him- 
self, or wishing to expose us to the very rough treatment 
to which intruders and sight-gazers are liable ; for the 
younger members of the fraternity, charging themselves witU 



106 



THE CITY. 



keeping the ring, are wont to fix their eyes upon strangers 
and interlopers, and discourage their return by running 
against them, treading on their toes, and, if they become 
refractory, hustling them out. Not being accustomed to 
this peculiar discipline, we had no desire to run the risk of 
encountering it. The porter, to whom the name of the 
broker we expected to see had been given, thrust his head 
through an aperture opening on the Exchange room, and 
called it repeatedly, when, not being answered, he pro- 
nounced the individual absent. 

There was a most rapid circulation, a perpetual opening 
and shutting of doors, and a hungry, eager, impatient look 
about the frequenters of this place, which not a little re- 
minded me of Wall-street. All seemed talking together, 
and in a rapid tone ; many were crying out, so many con- 
sols, or so many Cortes bonds, at such a price, naming it ; 
while the lower conversation of those who gossiped instead 
of bargained was carried on in the unintelligible jargon of 
the alley, in which often occurred such words as "bears," 
"bulls," and something about "lame ducks," which last I 
took for granted were at all events no subjects for envy. 

The far-famed Royal Exchange is a building of rather 
pleasing form and architecture, completely marred, how- 
ever, in its appearance, like all the others edifices in this part 
of London, by the contradictory action of the smoke and 
rains. The dome, which surmounts the front, terminates 
in a golden weathercock im the form of a grasshopper, out 
of compliment to Sir Thomas Gresham, the original founder 
of the Exchange, that being his crest. Some idea of the 
rush, the throng, and the hum which prevail in this busy 
neighbourhood, maybe formed from the fact that near three 
hundred thousand people are daily computed to pass in 
front of this edifice along Cornhill, and perhaps an equal 



THE CITY. 



16? 



number by the back, in Threadneedle-street. The front 
is adorned with columns and statues, and the entrance to 
Change is under a massive arcade and portico. 

Before going to Change we went into Lloyd's. This is 
an association of capitalists who meet in an apartment of 
the Exchange, for the purpose of insuring vessels and 
their cargoes. The risks are divided among a number of 
individuals, each putting his name down to pay a certain 
sum in the event of loss, whence their name of under- 
writers. By having a great number of small risks, their 
premiums enable them to pay an occasional loss, and leave 
them in possession of a handsome income to compensate 
them for their time. Most of them are people who have 
grown rich by trade, and having retired with capital 
qualifying them for the responsibility of underwriting, 
resort to this as an occupation and means of excitement, 
unattended, in ordinary and peaceful times, with any ex- 
treme risk. 

The underwriters were seated about at various small 
tables, having pen and paper before them ; some gossiping 
about disasters at sea and reports of shipwreck, others 
transacting business and taking risks. I was presented to 
one of these gentlemen, and, after a moment's conversation 
about the mode of transacting business here, and one or 
two questions, he rather abruptly asked me the nature of 
the risk, little dreaming how odd the question would sound 
in the ears of one whose worldly goods consisted in little 
else beside what he carried with him. Refreshments were 
served to those who had access to this establishment, which 
seemed to be much affected by merchants and skippers. 
Hence its name of Coffee-house, and that of Lloyd's 
doubtless came from the individual publican at whose 
house capitalists first assembled to insure. There are 
likewise Stock Companies for insurance in London as with 



1GB 



THE CITV 



us; but most of the commercial insurance is still done by 
private underwriters. 

Leaving Lloyd's, we descended to the interior court of 
the building, where the exchange is held. This is a very 
beautiful quadrangle, having an open space uncovered in 
the centre, which is enclosed by ranges of piazzas, for the 
purpose of furnishing shelter to those who attend the 
Exchange in very bad weather. That the Change should 
be held throughout the year thus in the open air, or simply 
under cover from the rain, without exclusion of the external 
air, is a fact attesting the mildness of the climate, though 
still, with all allowance for this, the practice must be 
attended with great inconvenience, exposure, and sacrifice 
of comfort. The covered piazza is flanked within by a 
range of arches and pilasters, and, besides being tastefully 
ornamented, is enlivened by a collection of statues arranged 
around the quadrangle. These are of various British kings. 
In the centre stands a statue of Charles II., with troops of 
attendant Cupids. I suppose the circumstance of this king's 
being selected to fill the post of honour is owing to the 
reconstruction of the Exchange during his reign ; for there 
could have been little congeniality between his tastes and 
those of the frugal, industrious, and honest traders for 
whose uses it was erected. His talents were for prodigality 
and waste, theirs for production and reproduction, economy 
and thrift. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



THE CITY. 

Change — American Sea Captains — Comparison with English — Rothschild 
— His Character — Dolly's — Covent Garden — Gustavus. 

It was four o'clock, and the Exchange was in all its 
glory as we entered it. The vast open area was well-nigh 
full, and many groups loitered behind the columns in the 
obscurity of the piazzas. The different quarters of the 
world were each represented by a particular division; at 
the part affected by Americans I felt quite at home, the 
more so that I had an opportunity of shaking hands with 
our worthy captain. The sight of so many Americans did 
not a little contribute to stimulate my pride of country. It 
was impossible to avoid comparing the American captains 
who were there, with the coarser skippers of the land. 
They were well-dressed, respectablelooking men, in 
nowise distinguishable in their air and manners from the 
best people around them ; while the British captains were 
coarse, rugged, rough of speech, not unfrequently dressed 
in round jackets, and almost always with a red and blistered 
nose and a fiery eye. To look at them, one might be dis- 
posed to say, however, these last are the best sailors, the 



170 



THE CITY. 



true rough knots; the others are too much of gentlemen. 
Not at all ; there never was a greater mistake. Pick out 
the most gentlemanlike of the Americans, and the most 
nautical- looking Briton, and start them off together on any 
given service, or to any remote corner of the world, and 
the American will beat him twenty per cent, at least in his 
passages; perhaps he will get back — and there is no 
absurdity in the supposition, for it happens constantly — 
before the other arrives at his destination. What is the 
reason of this difference? Why, the American has a 
reputation to sustain or to form; he has something to lose or 
to gain. He is probably part or whole owner of the noble 
ship he stands upon, and his time is valuable to him. He 
is not toiling for a pittance ; he is labouring to secure him- 
self an independence, and a comfortable home for the 
evening of life. 

The contrast in the appearance and characters of this 
class of men in the two countries is the best illustration of 
the two very different systems of society existing in England 
and America. In England, owing to the peculiar character 
of the government, the vast accumulations of wealth, and its 
concentration in a few hands, in which the legislation has 
for centuries been placed, and naturally and necessarily 
exercised in their own interest, a state of things has been 
brought about, the inevitable consequence of which is, that 
one man sows and another reaps ; the poor labour, and toil, 
and sweat ; and the rich luxuriate and enjoy. Hence 
recklessness, indifference, servility, and the absence of 
pride among the inferior classes. In America, on the con- 
trary, where the labourer is in truth worthy of his hire, 
there is nothing to check or limit the ardour of individual 
exertion. 

These American captains have entered upon life with no 
superior advantages over the others. For the most part 



THE CITY. 



171 



from New England, they have left their homes at an early 
age, with nothing beyond the plain good education, the re- 
ligious principles, and the sound morality, nowise in- 
consistent with the love of thrift, which that model of a 
commonwealth furnishes to the humblest of her children. 
They go to sea first as common sailors, and remaining for 
years in the same employ, by perseverance in good conduct, 
sobriety, and assiduous attention to the interests intrusted 
to them, they gradually win their way to the confidence ot 
captains and owners, form a character for themselves, and 
at the age of five-and-twenty, or thirty years, find them- 
selves in command, with an interest in the vessel which they 
sail. Meantime, their minds, furnished at the outset with 
the foundation of a substantial education, have become im- 
proved and liberalized by reading, and extensive intercourse 
with various parts of the world. Their manners, too, are 
gradually formed ; and not being oppressed or kept down 
by any humbling sense of inferiority, they acquire a digni- 
fied, manly, and republican demeanour. From the moment 
these young men become shipmasters, they are admitted at 
once to such a share in the profits of the trade as blends 
their interests completely with that of their owners. Their 
fortune may be said to be already made. In a few years they 
usually retire as proprietors, to Jive in comfort and content- 
ment in the country in which they were born, in some 
peaceful village in the land of steady habits, and in sight of 
the sea. But to return from this digression, — which the very 
different appearance of these nautical worthies seemed na- 
turally to suggest, and for which I have endeavoured to 
furnish a sufficient reason, — let us continue our rambles 
round this scene of bustle and animation. On reaching the 
eastern side, I was struck with the regal air of a man who 
was leaning against one of the columns, with his face towards 
the courtyard, giving audience to a crowd of suppliants. 



172 



THE CITY 



1 la was a very common-looking person, with heavy features, 
flabby, pendent lips, and a projecting fish-eye. His figure, 
which was stout, awkward, and ungainly, was enveloped in 
the loose folds of an ample surtout. Yet there was some- 
thing commanding in his air and manner ; and the deferential 
respect which seemed voluntarily rendered to him by those 
who approached him, showed that it was no ordinary person. 
" Who is that?" was the natural question. " The king of 
the Jews." 

The persons crowding round were presenting bills of 
exchange. He would glance for a moment at a paper, 
return it with an affirmatory nod, and turn to the next 
individual pressing forward for an audience. Two well- 
looking young men, with somewhat of an air of dandyism, 
stood beside him, making memoranda to assist in the 
recollection of bargains, regulating the whole continental 
exchange of the day. Even without this assistance he is 
said to be able to call to mind every bargain that he has 
made. The most singular stories are told of the business 
habits of this extraordinary individual, who manoeuvres 
stocks and loans with as much skill, and not always without 
the same important effect, as Napoleon did armies and 
artillery. His favourite study is said to be looking over his 
bills of exchange ; these are his literary pets — they are 
both poetry and prose to him ; with these he communes 
by the hour. It is said, that he can, on any day, tell 
without reference every bill that is to fall due. We were 
delighted to find that he had recovered possession of his 
favourite column, against which he was standing, and that 
the intrusive Mr. Rose, on whose conduct there had been 
much speculation in the newspapers, was nowhere to be 
seen. 

This astonishing man was formerly the mere agent, at 
Manchester, of a Jew house in Frankfort, for the purchase 



THE CITY. 



173 



ol cotton goods. Subsequently he removed to London, 
and commenced the traffic in exchanges. He was first 
brought into notice during the war, by transmitting to the 
Austrian government at Vienna the subsidy furnished by 
England for carrying on the w 7 ar. He executed this in a 
bold manner, at a time when the older bankers declined 
the task, on account of the agitated condition of continental 
affairs. After this, he was regularly employed by the 
government in remitting funds to the British troops in the 
Peninsula and elsewhere ; this he was always able to do 
promptly, by rallying around him all his Jew brethren 
throughout the Continent. Of these he may now be es- 
teemed the king ; unless, indeed, his title to royal honours 
should be disputed by our clever and facetious high-priest, 
who not long since conceived the project of uniting the 
scattered tribes on the new Ararat of Lake Eirie, and, 
robed like Melchisedek of old, enacted such a delectable 
farce within hearing of the roar of Niagara, 

The chief origin of the present enormous fortune of this 
individual was his purchasing largely in the funds of all the 
old-established powers, towards the close of the French war 
and Napoleon's career. He went into these stocks as deep 
as he was able, buying extensively, then raising money on 
what he had bought, and still going on to buy more. By 
the skilful combination of his plans, and the rapidity of his 
communications and means of receiving intelligence, he 
contrived to learn the result of the battle of Waterloo ten 
hours before it was known even at the Horse-Guards. The 
possession of such exclusive information, of course, was 
turned to account by extensive purchases. As he antici- 
pated, and no doubt owing, in some measure, to his own 
speculations, the funds went up astonishingly at the peace, 
and he found himself enormously enriched. The traffic 
m slocks and exchanges, in which he can always make good 



174 



THE CITY . 



bargains, being able to raise or depress prices slightly at his 
pleasure, and the contract for loans, have tended, and still 
daily tend, to augment this colossal fortune. He can 
always take loans on more favourable terms than any one 
else. Having received orders for certain portions of any 
given stock from various bankers, he takes a loan and 
divides it, reserving a portion for himself, and clearing the 
premium, which he receives as a bonus for making the 
contract. By this means he obviates any unfavourable 
reaction on the stocks of which he is already a holder, and 
which would have been depressed by a loan being taken at 
a low rate. 

This individual may be looked on as in a peculiar manner 
the banker of established governments and of the Holy 
Alliance. War in any shape, and liberal crusades espe- 
cially, embarrassing national finances, and possibly attack- 
ing the inviolability of debts contracted for the support, of 
prescriptive right and the subjugation of the people, are not 
what he desires. He has never had anything to do with 
the South American republics, nor with the mining specu- 
lations within their territory, for which he is, of course, all 
the richer. Latterly, he has learned to distinguish between 
republics, and to believe that there may be such a thing as 
a stable one. He has turned his eyes to the only one of the 
great nations of the world whose government has undergone 
no change whatever, in the letter or in the spirit, during the 
last half century of struggles and bloodshed. He has seen 
a people including no antagonist classes, no aristocracy 
holding in the same hand the wealth with the power of the 
country, no child of labour chained for ever hopelessly to 
the oar, and denied all beyond the bare pittance necessary 
to perpetuate that existence whose energies are to be de- 
voted to the service of his task-master. There labour 
cherishes no hostility, no deadly purpose of revenge ; there 



THE CITY. 



175 



it loses no time in repining at its lot, pauses not to complain, 
but, armed with courage, and secure of its reward, puts 
forth its energies and grasps wealth. In that country the 
government has already quietly assumed the form and 
fashion to which all others tend inevitably through struggles, 
convulsions, and blood, being already in the hands of a 
democracy, from whom none have the means of withdraw- 
ing it. It reposes upon the broad foundation of a whole people, 
unhappily, though through no fault of ours, disfigured in 
some portions of our vast territory by the existence of 
slavery, and the presence of a distinct race unsusceptible 
of amalgamation; elsewhere polluted by an inundating 
emigration, bringing us the degraded materials of the worn- 
out monarchies of Europe; yet, in the aggregate, intelligent, 
moral, cognizant at once of their powers, their privileges, 
and the means necessary to preserve them. 

This man has had the discernment to discover that our 
securities are the soundest in the world ; reposing upon the 
existence of governments which alone present no immediate 
prospect of change, and the guarantee of gigantic and un- 
exhausted resources, — upon British enterprise and British 
probity, transplanted to more fertile shores, — and on Bri- 
tish liberty, intrusted not alone to the guardianship of pro- 
perty and a privileged few, but made the birthright of all. 
He has recently taken a loan of one of the most flourishing 
states; has an agent in America, and is likely soon to have 
a member of his family there. Moreover, he and our great 
sachem have recently taken each other by the hand, and he 
is now our financial agent. It is said that these distinc- 
tions are very delightful to him. He glories in being the 
financial representative of all the great powers at this the 
capital of the moneyed world. He has declined the offer 
of a title from a sovereign prince, having the good sense to 
see that, as a noble, he would be contemptible ; while, as a 



no 



THE CITY. 



banker and a capitalist, be stands alone and unapproached, 
respected and honoured alike by kings and presidents. 

1 looked at this individual with no little interest. Men 
without talents sometimes grow rich by economy, and by 
hoarding whatever they lay their hands on, — by keeping 
close pent within their pockets every sixpence which finds 
its way there. But a man who, rising from obscurity, is 
able, by force of mind and character, boldly and success- 
fully to carve out for himself a great career, and make 
himself of importance to states and sovereigns, must be one 
of no ordinary character. Greatness is not confined to any 
particular sphere; it is various and multiform in its mode of 
exhibiting itself; and Rothschild may well lay claim to be 
as great among money-bags, as Napoleon was at the head 
of armies. 

I had never witnessed a scene of greater bustle and ani- 
mation than when the Exchange approached its close. 
Thousands and tens of thousands of pounds mingled per- 
petually in the speech of the by-standers. Masters were 
bargaining for the sale of vessels, or drove a trade for 
freights and charters. Everything seemed as unsettled as 
ever when the bell rang preliminary to the close. This 
seemed to communicate a new impulse to every one. Dif- 
ferences suddenly disappeared before the necessity of a 
speedy conclusion, and people separated with a shake of the 
hand in faith of agreement. At half-past four, the bell again 
sounded to give notice to depart. The vast crowd at once 
poured out by the various outlets, talking as they went of 
ships, cargoes, exchanges, insurance, speculations, and 
bankruptcies, and all the olher.terms that pertain to trade, 
and which, though jargon to the ears of those who do not 
understand them, are solid sense, and solid money too, to 
such as are in the secret. 

Leaving the Exchange, we traced our way, by the aid of 



THE CITY. 



177 



gas and the faint glimmerings of day that yet remained, 
down Cheapside to St. Paul's Church-yard, where we 
struck off to the right, in search of Dolly's Chop-house, so 
famous now as in past centuries for its excellent beefsteaks. 
The coffee-room had an air of antiquity; for though the 
building had been renewed from time to time, yet parts of 
the old structure had been retained ; among others, the 
chimneys, which are antique, projecting, and have a quaint 
air. The beefsteaks were very sensibly served in detach- 
ments brought in hot on pewter dishes, with heated plates 
of the same to eat from. They were cut very thin, and 
were not particularly good. There was one reflection, 
however, that seasoned the meal ; and that was, that Addi- 
son, Steele, Goldsmith, and Johnson, not to mention infe- 
rior names, had often feasted similarly in the very same 
place. Perhaps on the very spot where I was then sitting, 
the stomachs of those departed worthies had been strength- 
ened to the conception of a "Cato," a "Deserted Village," 
or a " Rasselas." After all, unromantic as it may seem, 
food is the element from which all else is derived ; and a 
beefsteak may be looked upon alike as the convertible re- 
presentative of a sweetly-soothing, and seductive poem, an 
exquisite tale, and a sublime tragedy, as of a piece of ca- 
lico. Invigorated by it, the blacksmith hammers, the bard 
muses, the sage loses himself in contemplation, and the 
tragic poet soliloquizes. 

The idea is very amusing, and very odd, yet, perhaps, 
very possible, that these beautiful lines of Thomson — 

" How meek, how patient, the mild creature lies ! 
What softness in its melancholy face; 
What dull complaining innocence appears ! 
Fear not, ye gentle tribes, 'tis not the knife 
Of horrid slaughter that is o'er you waved ; 
No, 'tis the tender swain's well-guided shears, 
Which, having now, to pay his annual care, 

12 



17b 



THE CITY. 



Borrow d your fleece, to you a cumbrous load, 
Will send you bounding to your hills again" — 

might, if chymically analyzed, and resolved back into their 
first elements, be found to settle down quietly into a mut- 
ton-chop devoured at Dolly's. Verily, if sentiment be not 
mere humbug, at any rate poetry is, without disparage- 
ment, nothing more than beef and mutton transformed. 

We closed the day at the Covent Garden. The en- 
trance to this theatre is not so grand as to Drury Lane, nor 
are the arrangements in any respect so elegant and com- 
modious. Yet there is no want of space, large foyers fill- 
ed with the same description of occupants, and sufficient 
outlets and vomitories. The entertainment began with the 
opera of Gustavus, from the French. The exhibition of 
scenery and dresses was so splendid as to leave one, apt to 
be carried away by present impressions, little disposition 
to regret the Royal Academy or San Carlo. The scene in 
the masquerade was indeed most brilliant. The acting in 
this piece was very good; the singing somewhat less so; 
and the music, though beautiful in itself, was sadly angli- 
cised in the delivery. The figurantes, of which there were 
an immense number, formed the prettiest collection of wo- 
men I had ever seen on the stage, so far, at least, as the 
head and bust were concerned. They had charming coun- 
tenances; and, instead of paint and brickdust, were beauti- 
fully teinted with the hues of health and with nature's ver- 
milion. Unfortunately their figures were squat, with a 
superabundance of body in the bottle form, sustained upon 
bad legs and feet. At the Scala, at San Carlo, or the Aca- 
demy, I had often admired the effect of the full corps en- 
tering in time to a graceful music, and moving their limbs 
and bodies in a delightful and most seductive harmony. I 
never saw anything more burlesque than the same thing on 
this occasion. The troupe came tripping in, clothed with 



THE CITY. 



170 



meretricious smiles, and an air of forced unction, as they 
bowed out of time, as if lame first in one leg and then in the 
other. Their movement was what a sailor would call of 
the "step and fetch it order," or a species of "heaving and 
setting, like a goat tied to a gate-post." In order to make 
their demerits the more glaringly enormous, the corps was 
interpersed with several foreign dancers, headed by Ce- 
leste, and the discrepance in their movements was too pal- 
pable. There was, however, one brilliant exception, 
among the English part of the company, to the application 
of this sweeping denunciation of the figures and movement. 

This, too, was in the case of the best singer and actress 
of the evening, and among the most pleasing that I saw in 
England. Let me, for a moment, pause to do justice to the 
legs of Miss ShirefF. She appeared as a page, and a more 
interesting one could scarce be seen. Many of my readers 
may have seen lithographs of her, presenting the invitation 
to the ball, on the frontispiece of the music of Gustavus. 
Her singing was admirable, but it was her leg that con- 
vulsed the house with applause; and well might it, for it 
was one from which Shakspeare might have caught a new 
charm to embellish his description of Rosaline's, or Robert 
Burns have dreamed of in his vision, when he exclaims, at 
the recollection — 

" And such a leg ! my bonnie Jean 
Could only peer it ; 
Sae straught, sae taper, tight, and clean, 
Nane else came near it." 

I afterward found that the enthusiastic admiration of a 
fine female leg was a prevailing taste in England. A means 
of accounting for it may perhaps be found in its extreme 
rarity. Each theatre is obliged to provide for this taste, by 
having, if possible, a pair of fine legs in the troupe : Ma- 

12 * 



180 



THE CITY. 



dame Vestris's have long been peerless in England. I have 
known persons, deliberating about the selection of a theatre 
for the amusement of the evening, decide for the Olympic, 
on discovering that Vestris's character would involve the 
exhibition of her legs. In this way the mere exhibition of 
her legs is worth some hundred pounds to her annually. 

During the opera I was exceedingly amused by a piece 
of dry English humour practised by some one at the top of 
the house. The principal male singer was spinning out 
his voice to the most delicate thread possible in one of the 
fine passages, and had reached the very climax of his ca- 
pabilities, when this wag uttered audibly a deep and plain- 
tive groan. The effect was irresistibly ludicrous. I had 
been doubting, for some time, whether to be carried away 
by admiration or not, when the fellow's groan convinced 
me that all was not exactly right. Soulless brute as he 
doubtless was, it would have been impossible for him thus 
to have accompanied the exertion of a Rubini's power. I 
never knew a dog to interrupt a burst of really fine music, 
though I have often heard them accompany a beginner on 
the flute, or howl in concert to an unwearying hand- 
organ. The sublime and the ridiculous are, after all, very 
nearly allied in this sort of music : one always knows indeed 
when it is admirably done ; but there is a species of mean 
excellence that is very embarrassing, and often puzzles 
those who admire without critical skill, and only by the 
effect of their impressions. 

The opera was succeeded by a most amusing farce, full 
of well-managed perplexities and ingenious dilemmas. 
Kissing and caressing were carried on through every scene, 
and the whole piece abounded with equivoques, play upon 
words, and not a few indecent allusions, which, being more 
direct and intelligible to the obtuse, were received with 
greater acclamation. The pictures of middle life in Eng- 



THE CITY. 



181 



land seemed at once national and true, for they were acted 
with great life and spirit, and received with unmeasured 
commendation. The audience broke up grinning glo- 
riously, and well pleased with their money's worth of en- 
tertainment. 



CHAPTER XV. 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 

Westminster Hall — Court of King's Bench— Great Brewery — Thame? 
Tunnel — Its Construction— Importance of its Completion. 

At an early hour the succeeding day my friend called for 
me in his cabriolet, to take me to Westminster Hall, to 
witness a most interesting trial, in a case which was to 
come on in the Court of King's Bench. The prisoners were 
a member of Parliament and a soldier of the Coldstream 
Guards ; their conviction involved capital punishment, and 
public attention had been much awakened, through the 
newspapers, to the coming trial. 

As we drew up in front of the venerable pile, associated, 
during so many centuries, with almost every event in the 
history of this great nation, my attention was attracted to 
it with no little interest. I found the external appearance 
of this celebrated edifice far less noble and imposing than I 
had anticipated. Originally a very pure specimen of Gothic 
architecture, its simplicity has been greatly marred by ad- 
ditions in a very mixed taste, which do not harmonize with 
it. Thus, there are two square towers, battlemented at the 
top, which Hank the front, and which, while they conceal 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



183 



the pile, yet convey in themselves no impression of gran- 
deur or beauty, for their height is very inconsiderable. 
Other constructions of recent date, connected with the courts 
of law or the House of Parliament, which join the Hall, 
tend, by their want of harmony, still further to disfigure it 
and destroy its character of simplicity. 

Nothing, however, can be simpler or grander than the 
effect of the Hall when seen from within. You find your- 
self in a vast edifice, near three hundred feet in length, 
having on every side nothing but the plain walls of stone, 
and no column or obstruction of any sort to intercept the 
view and break the character of simplicity and vastness. 
High over head rises a bold and hardy roof, supported by 
no column, but propped with inconceivable lightness and 
grace on a series of wooden groinings, springing from stone 
mullions on the side walls. This roof is built entirely of 
chestnut wood, put together with the greatest ingenuity, 
and is richly ornamented with the heraldic emblems of 
Richard II., by whom it was built, carved everywhere in 
the wood. It is almost entirely the same as it was con- 
structed towards the commencement of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, and yet bears no impress of decay. In the various 
specimens of Gothic architecture which I have seen through- 
out the Continent, there was nothing which bore any re- 
semblance whatever to this, or at all prepared me for the 
impression which its eccentricity, lightness, and beauty pro- 
duced upon me. 

Westminster Hall was originally erected for a banquet- 
ing-room. In the eleventh century it was already used for 
that purpose, and several hundred years later Richard II. 
kept his Christmas feast here, which was partaken of by no 
fewer than ten thousand guests. It was reasonable enough 
therefore, that there should have been, as we are told, no 
fewer than twenty-eight roasted oxen, and other animals 



J 84 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



without number, devoured on this occasion. It is still de- 
voted occasionally to the same use; for here George IV., at 
no distant day, held his coronation banquet, with a con- 
sumption of food, moreover, which clearly shows that 
change of times brings no innovation in the carnivorous 
appetites of man. Here, too, in times past, the High Court 
of Parliament was often held; and here it was, subsequently 
to my visit, question of temporarily holding it during the 
reconstruction of the houses after their unfortunate de- 
struction by fire. At present it is only used as one of the 
thoroughfares leading to the House of Commons, and to 
the various courts of Chancery, Exchequer, King's Bench, 
and Common Pleas, which hold their sittings in apartments 
adjoining it. 

When I had recovered a little from the deep impression 
of astonishment and admiration which the contemplation 
of this magnificent pile awakened, I followed my compa- 
nion to the Court of King's Bench, which is situated at the 
right. To our great regret, we found it completely full. 
The room was of a square figure, and lit from a skylight 
above; the judges seemed to be seated opposite, under a 
canopy displaying the arms of England ; the lawyers were 
arranged on grades of benches ascending from the bar; 
while the spectators stood on cither hand, and in small 
galleries above. The avenues were likewise choked with 
persons standing and stretching forward to hear; so that 1 
was unable to force my way into the dense mass. I could 
see nothing of the judges, the counsel, or the prisoners, 
whose situation, whether guilty or innocent, was so awful, 
and whose countenances I was anxious to study. I was 
barely able to catch sight of one or two neatly-curled bar- 
risters' wigs, terminating in double queues or pig- tails. 

1 was exceedingly vexed at not getting in. The details, 
to be sure, were likely to be very disgusting, and the news- 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



185 



papers, which penetrate every domestic circle in the land, 
and which about this time seemed to look upon informa- 
tion of this character as a necessary part of the intelligence 
and intellectual nutriment of the day, exhibited them the 
next morning in all their enormity. Yet my curiosity was 
much excited; for the first legal talents in the country were 
enlisted in the defence, and the Duke of Wellington, backed 
by peers and poets, the aristocracy of rank and the aristocracy 
of genius, were there present to testify to the character of the 
accused, and react in favour of an individual, who, by birth, 
and by talents, belonged to both, and save their mutual 
castes from the foul stain resulting from a conviction. 

Crowded, squeezed, in momentary danger of parting with 
my coat-tails, yet without seeing anything, or the prospect 
of being able to do so, I was certainly in a very bad humour, 
and felt very unamiable, — for there is nothing so irritating 
and exhausting as the surrounding pressure of a crowd. 
As I forced myself out, with as much of my coat as I could 
carry with me, I had no eye to admire anew the magnifi- 
cence of that noble Hall of Westminster, into which I 
had again emerged ; but abandoned myself to the most 
illiberal reflections on the vices that spring from idleness 
and an exhausted refinement, and drawing arguments against 
the existence of standing armies. 

Having looked into some of the other courts, and found 
nothing of particular interest there, it was proposed that we 
should continue our ride, and visit the Tunnel, stopping in 
our way at the great brewery of Barclay and Perkins, whose 
fame had already been announced to me at the corner of 
almost every street in London, — the ordinary sign of a 
porter-house, or gin-shop, being, in almost every case, 
coupled with the conspicuously-displayed notification of — 
" Barclay and Perkins's entire." I was told, indeed, that 
the great London brewers are the proprietors of most of the 



186 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



favourite tavern-stands, by which means they are able to 
make terms with the lessee favourable to the consumption 
of their commodity. Having crossed the Westminster 
Bridge, walking over to enjoy the view, while our vehicle 
drove on before us, we struck into a very busy and popu- 
lous, though utilitarian and inelegant quarter of the town, 
and at length came to this vast establishment, which is almost 
a suburb of London, having whole streets and ranges of 
edifices; and which, standing by itself, would make a very 
tolerable town. 

Here was a whole population devoted to the production 
of beer. They seemed also to be consumers to a very con- 
siderable extent, for they were rosy, hale, and portly. Horses 
of enormous size were circulating in various directions, 
either harnessed in numbers to ponderous carts, laden with 
the drowsy fluid, to transport to customers in every quarter 
of the metropolis, or else singly drawing a barrel about on 
a wooden drag, similar to a sled. These sleds are seen 
in all parts of London, and they struck me as offering a 
solitary exception to the rigorous exclusion from the streets 
of whatever can in any way interfere with the public con- 
venience and safety. They are certainly dangerous; and 
I once saw one of them, at the turning of a corner, run 
directly under the legs of a pair of horses, before they could 
be pulled up by the postillion. 

Having exhibited the letter of introduction of which we 
were bearers, we were admitted to the establishment, and 
put in charge of a person to conduct us. We were first 
shown the vast repositories in which the malt is stored. 
The malt used in making beer is simply barley parched, or 
submitted to the same process with coffee, preparatory to 
making the decoction. The malt store was so arranged, 
that it could be let at once through a trap, in any given 
quantity, into the large boilers below. The beer is made 



EXCURSION TO Tilli TUNNEL. 



187 



in three large coppers, each capable of containing three 
hundred and forty barrels. The malt and boiled hops are 
added together, and boiling water is perpetually forced up 
from below. This process goes on twelve hours. In order 
to mix the whole intimately, a machine, called a rouser, 
which is worked by steam, revolves perpetually within the 
coppers, disturbing the hops and malt, and preventing them 
from settling. When the liquor is sufficiently boiled, it is 
carried off to the fermenting vats, where it gradually cools, 
and goes through the process of fermentation. I was struck 
here by the singular effect which the sun produced in shin- 
ing through the blinds, and casting its light obliquely over 
the purple vapour evaporating from the vats. When the 
fermentation is complete, and the beer drawn off into the 
vats inwhich itispreserved, the various vessels are cleansed, 
and the process is renewed the next day. 

Every thing in this establishment is on a vast and magni- 
ficent scale, and the buildings and works are executed with 
neatness, elegance, and solidity. There are, among other 
things, eight vast hop-lofts, each seventy yards long by forty 
wide ; curiously-contrived purchases for lifting and cleansing 
parts of the machinery ; railways to bring the coal from its 
depository to the furnaces; and even a very beautiful sus- 
pension bridge, spanning a street, to connect the upper 
stories of opposite edifices. I never saw engines in more 
complete order than the two which move the various 
machinery of this establishment. Both of them were of 
Watts's construction ; and it seemed to me not a little credi- 
table to the genius of that distinguished machinist, that he 
should himself have brought to such perfection, for manu- 
facturing purposes atleast, a complicated contrivance, which 
the ingenuity of so many persons who have devoted them- 
selves to its study has not been able essentially to improve. 
There is much about the air of this establishment to convey 



188 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



the idea, not of something connected with individual enter- 
prise, but of those vast public works, such as magazines, 
arsenals, and dock-yards, in which the greatness of a pow- 
erful nation exhibits itself. There was a massive stone in- 
scription let into one of the walls of a new building, setting 
forth, for the benefit of posterity, that its construction had 
been commenced in May of the previous year, and finished 
in November. This was a dispatch that would have excited 
wonder even in our own land of impatience. 

In one of the court-yards is a beautiful iron tank, sup- 
ported on columns, at a sufficient elevation to carry water 
to any part of the works ; this is capable of containing fifteen 
hundred barrels of water. Neatness, order, and arrange- 
ment prevail throughout every department of this vast es- 
tablishment. The stables would remind one of the military 
precision of a cavalry barrack, though the animals them- 
selves were not such as would have figured well in a charge, 
being strangers to every other gait than a walk : they were 
enormous animals, indeed, and of great price, many of them 
having cost as high as sixty or seventy guineas. A number 
of them were distinguished from their comrades by having 
a wisp of straw woven into their tails. On asking what 
they had done to be thus honoured above their compeers, 
I was told, that they were either lame or requiring to be 
shod. At a distance from the stable, a very neat edifice was 
pointed out as the horse-infirmary, where those which were 
in delicate health were delivered over to kinder care and 
treatment. The stable-men and drivers were as colossal 
as their horses ; indeed, the appearance of all the people 
.about this establishment went to prove that beer-drinking, 
after all, is not sucfr a bad thing in its physical effects; for 
these people are, many of them, allowed a half-gallon a- 
day, which some extend, from their own means, to twice 
that quantity. Its tendency, however, did not seem to be to 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



189 



quicken the intellect; for most of them had a dull, drowsy, 
and immoveable look. It was impossible to detect any in- 
tellectuality in their countenances, or speculation in their 
eyes. 

It is in the cellars, however, where the beer is preserved, 
that one is most struck with the extent, and, if I may use 
the word, the grandeur of this establishment. A system of 
cast-iron columns props beams of the same material ; while, 
on all sides, are ranged huge vats, containing beer in a 
condition lor use. There were no fewer than one hun- 
dred and sixteen of these, which average two thousand bar- 
rels of thirty-six gallons each, and the largest of which 
contains three thousand four hundred barrels, so that there 
are actually always two hundred and thirty-two thousand 
barrels of beer on hand here. One may imagine what 
would be the effect of an accident which should burst these 
vats simultaneously. The beer deluge would become as 
fixed a part of the traditions of Southwark, as that of the 
olden time is of all mankind. 

We left this vast establishment without any disposition 
to sneer with the conceited and the silly at brewers and 
breweries : perhaps there is no more direct road in this 
country to great wealth, and all the consequences which it 
carries with it, than the diligent and successful prosecution 
of this business. Barclay and Perkins were the clerks, and 
became the successors ofMr.Thrale,who was able, through 
his wealth, aided by his own good taste and that of his wife, 
to surround himself, at his villa of Streatham, with a dis- 
tinguished circle of the literary men of his time. When Mr. 
Thrale died, the brewery only occupied one fourth of its 
present space, and was every way inconsiderable in pro- 
portion; yet Johnson was at that time so impressed with its 
grandeur, that he is said, by the gossiping jackal who has 
commemorated his slightest doings, to have exclaimed at the 



l'JU 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



sale — he being one of the trustees — with a peculiar display 
of that " weight of words" which Dr. Parr, in the inscription 
I had seen the day before in St. Paul's, so felicitously as- 
cribes to him, " We are not here, gentlemen, to sell a mere 
collection of empty vats and beer-barrels, but the potentiality 
of growing rich beyond the wildest dreams of avarice." 

From the brewery we drove to a neighbouring printing 
establishment, where that admirable publication, the Penny 
Magazine, is struck off by a most ingenious process, and 
sent, at an inconsiderable expense, to the remotest corners 
of the kingdom, carrying within the humblest roofs health- 
ful and invigorating nourishment for the intellect, substitut- 
ing a pleasing and almost gratuitous relaxation for the costly 
and debasing dissipation of gin-shops and taverns, and in 
imparting to the mind a little information, implanting at 
the same time the desire to obtain more. 

As the Thames tunnel was at no great distance, my com- 
panion proposed that we should drive there. I asked 
nothing better; and we were soon set down at its entrance. 
We entered the enclosure leading to the shaft by a record- 
ing turnstile, similar to that on W T aterloo Bridge, intended 
as a check on the possible dishonesty of the clerk, by taking 
note of each shilling's worth of humanity that passes it. 
The present descent to the tunnel is by a spiral stairway of 
wood, constructed in the shaft pierced for the commencement 
of the work and the removal of the rubbish. Should the 
work ever be completed, it will be approached by carriages 
by means of circular and spiral descents at either end, after 
the manner of the Tower of Giralda. In the shaft, beside 
the wooden stairway, were seen the conduits of the pump, 
worked by a powerhd, steam engine, by means of which the 
leakage is carried off, and the excavation kept free from 
water. 

Having descended about sixty feet from the surface of the 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



191 



bank of the river, the tunnel broke suddenly upon our view. 
It consists of two separate roads ; the left alone was visible, 
being lighted with gas. They are of horseshoe form, 
leaning towards each other, their sides being nearly straight 
on the inside, though quite oval without. They are arched 
on the bottom as well as the top, in order to be tight, and 
defended in all directions Being plastered over, and well 
lighted, the effect of this subterranean passage was singu- 
larly striking and grand, even without superadding the con- 
ception of its position beneath the bed of a river, and the 
wonderful novelty and hardihood of the undertaking. This 
idea is, however, constantly forced upon your attention by 
the dripping of the water, the sense of dampness and chil- 
liness, and the hoarse panting of the steam engine and the 
valves of the huge pumps, the only sounds which disturb 
this solitude, and remind you of the peculiarity of your si- 
tuation. You look irresistibly over head, bewildered at the 
thought that a mighty estuary flows there, cut by thousands 
of flitting wherries, and groaning under the burdens of 
huge ships laden to their very gunwales, and that it is for 
ever struggling, with subtle and resistless power, to make a 
breach and rush in. When you recollect, as you stand 
beneath the very centre of the stream, that barely five yards 
intervene between the crown of the tunnel and the bed of 
the river, you more than half expect to see some great an- 
chor, dropped from the bows of an Indiaman, come crash- 
ing through the top, letting in the river itself, and every- 
thing in'it — a deluge, with all its consequences of desolation 
and death. 

When I learned the very little interval between the tun- 
nel and the river, it struck me that th^ingenious engineer 
would have more surely tested the practicability of his plan, 
and placed it still further beyond the possibility of failure, 
by going ten or more feet deeper. The only inconvenience 



192 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



that could have grown out of this, would have been the 
adding, in a very trifling degree, to the descent to reach the 
level on either side. It struck me, also, that there was 
another mistake in not making the two passages separate 
altogether. They are now connected by arches, which 
form openings in the dividing wall between them; so that 
any accident or sudden leak in the one, involves equal ex- 
posure to the other. 

My countrymen are doubtless aware of the mode in which 
this stupendous work was carried on, for the interest which it 
excited in America at the time of its construction was un- 
bounded; and the newspapers kept us perpetually acquainted 
with the details, which were read with an interest nowise 
inferior to what a bulletin of Napoleon might have com- 
manded some years earlier. The mirror placed at the ex- 
tremity of the work prevented my seeing the iron machine 
in which the excavators worked, and which was pushed 
forward as they made room for it, and as the arching became 
complete behind. This mirror, by reflecting the portion of 
the tunnel already finished, gave to the whole the air of 
completeness and perfection, and presented it to the view 
precisely as it would have appeared ere this, had no accident 
occurred to exhaust the funds of the Company and arrest its 
prosecution. 

The beauty and symmetry of the prospect, the effect of 
the series of lights, extending in endless vista, and the 
dwindling perspective as the eye lost itself in search of the 
extremity, all, by conjuring up a complete picture of what 
the thing might have been, tended to increase the regrets it 
was impossible not to feel in the recollection of what it is. 
The practicability of the undertaking is indeed already fully 
tested ; for more than half the distance across is complete, 
and the deepest part of the river, where its bottom and the 
lop of the tunnel most nearly approach each other, is already 



EXCURSION TO THE TUNNEL. 



passed in triumph, and the greatest danger is now behind. 
Money alone is wanting to complete this labour of surpass- 
ing magnificence and unquestioned utility. 

Begun as a speculation, with a view to the profitable 
investment of capital, in a country where capital overflows, 
the patience of the stockholders, called upon perpetually for 
new investments instead of stretching forth their hands to 
receive the forthcoming interest, has long since exhausted 
itself. It can only now be ever completed by a grant of 
money from Parliament, and as a national undertaking. 
This question has already been adverted to in the House of 
Commons, and no doubt something will ere long be done. 
When twenty millions are freely voted for a speculative 
good to be conferred at a distance from home, and from 
which the possibility of the most disastrous consequences is 
not wholly excluded, one million might well be granted to 
complete an undertaking so intimately connected with the 
convenience and prosperity of this vast metropolis, and 
which, in grandeur, in hardihood, as a proof of human in- 
genuity and human power, will yield to nothing within the 
whole circle of whatever man has yet achieved. 

The present generation of Englishmen can convey to 
their descendants, in all future times, no higher idea of their 
prosperity and greatness than by bequeathing to them such 
a legacy. The fame of Waterloo may fade when blended 
in the memory with the brighter glories of Cressy and 
Poictiers ; even the Nile and its Nelson may be eclipsed by 
the fresher triumphs of heroes that are to come ; but no 
lapse of time can diminish the impression of such a work as 
this, whose utility will always preserve it from decay, which 
is not likely to be elsewhere repeated, and which, at any 
rate, can never be surpassed. 



13 



CHAPTER XVI. 



THE RIVER. 

Thames Wherries — Utility of the Tunnel — London from the Thames — 
Movement on the River- — Tower of London — Regalia. 

Having dismissed our vehicle to return home, intending 
to take the water from the Tunnel to the Tower, we had 
scarce emerged into the open air before we were assailed 
by watermen, crying, " Sculls, sir? sculls?" assuring us of 
a good tide, although they had not the slightest idea in which 
direction we were going, and offering their services most 
eloquently in the language of the river. When we were 
seated in one of the light wherries, and found ourselves 
skimming fleetly under the influence of a single pair of sculls, 
I felt in a mood to do full justice to the attractions of this 
most agreeable conveyance. The Thames wherries are 
indeed among the most beautiful boats I have seen. Their 
form is somewhat between our Whitehall skiffs and a Greek 
caique, and they have much of the beauty and grace of both 
united. 

As we were receding from the Tunnel, my friend men- 
tioned it to me as a curious fact, that Brunei, the constructor 
of this Tunnel, and of many other works in England that 



THE lllYER. 



195 



are full of inventive genius and originality, on leaving his 
native country of France, had first gone to America, and 
had resided some time in New York. He there built the 
Park Theatre, an ungraceful pile, which was certainly 
preluding very hopelessly to the construction of the Tunnel. 
It was now that we could best appreciate the vast utility of 
this noble enterprise. An extent of three or four miles of 
the upward and downward course of the river was seen to 
be covered on either hand with habitations, manufactories, 
warehouses, and docks crowded with shipping, evidently 
constituting the most busy portion of this overgrown metro- 
polis; yet here was no means of passing except by wherries, 
and the nearest point at which the river could be traversed 
by a vehicle was at London Bridge, which lay some miles 
above. Ail this stretch of the river constituted the port of 
London, and no bridge, though provided with a draw 7 , could 
exist here w ithout materially impeding the navigation, and 
causing, to arriving and departing vessels, inconvenience, 
possible injury, and the frequent loss of a tide. Hence the 
impossibility of having a bridge at a point where yet one is 
the most needed. 

Flying bridges, moved by steam, if I may so denominate 
the conveyances by which our rivers are so conveniently 
traversed, are not applicable to the Thames, where the great 
rise and fall of the tide would render getting on board of 
them with carriages a difficult matter ; and where, more- 
over, the navigation might occasionally be interrupted by 
want of water. Hence the immense advantage of the sub- 
marine connexion by means of the Tunnel, connecting the 
populous and busy districts of Rotherhiihe and Wapping, 
and the vast suburbs adjoining, without at all impeding the 
navigation of the river. Let us hope, for the honour of the 
age in which we live, and the nation from which we are 
sprung, that this noble work will ere long be completed. 

13 * 



l!)fi THE RIVER. 

Would it not be rigbt, moreover, that they who first had 
the faith and greatness of soul to believe in such a grand 
idea, should not be abandoned to the simple consolation 
which that reflection may afford them ? They should not 
be permitted to lose their money because they had faith 
beyond their generation. The state should come to their 
succour, and take care, when the work is complete, that 
they be first reimbursed from its profits. 

The individual who expects to be struck with the beauty 
of London, as he sees it from the river, will be greatly disap- 
pointed. It offered to the eye, as we shot out into the stream, 
a flat shore on either side, lined with irregular and wretched 
houses, of squalid and most ruinous appearance. Some of 
these were warehouses, at which goods were received from, 
or discharged into, canal boats and lighters. Others were 
the dwellings of such as lived by the inelegant occupations 
of the river and the sea, to which it was the outlet. They 
had a filthy and sluttish look; yet even here were evidences 
of the prevalence of that rural taste which is a striking and 
most pleasing attribute of the land, through it evinced itself 
only in tubs of grass and shrubbery exposed at a window, 
to the peril of the watermen below, and occasionally a cracked 
flower-pot tenanted by a monthly rose. 

The towers and steeples overlooking this unsightly boun- 
dary of the river's course, were chiefly awkward in their 
forms, and spoke little for the magnificence of the city beyond. 
The dome of St. Paul's alone rose with boldness and grandeur, 
looming hugely through the smoke. Now and then a dense 
forest of masts and yards marked the situation of some one 
of the vast docks, in which the tide, with its bu rden of freighted 
ships, is shut up, and showed where was concentrated the 
more valuable trade of the commercial metropolis of the 
world. 

Though the scene was deficient in beauty, it was not 



THE RIVER. 1M 

wanting in activity and life. In the river the vessels were 
in many parts so crowded as to be moored side by side. 
This was especially the case where the colliers from New- 
castle and Sunderland lay. The river seemed to form a 
sort of floating community in itself, a district of London, 
with its population, its floating chapels, its police stations, 
its refectories. Bells tinkled on all sides, inviting the lovers 
of gin and rum to drink and be merry. The movement of 
barges, canal-boats, wherries, and steamers, with ships, 
brigs, and schooners, beating up with the tide under their 
lee, or sailing less fleetly before the wind, added to the 
noise of the steamers, and the cries of the sailors and water- 
men, formed altogether a scene of bustle and animation 
comparable only to that which was exhibited in another 
way by Piccadilly or Cheapside. 

Here, too, it was very easy to be run over, if one had the 
least taste for such a catastrophe. It required no little care 
to navigate amid so many difficulties. The waterman, as 
he at the same time guided and propelled the light wherry? 
looked warily over either shoulder. And reason good; for 
not a day passes by without its record of drowning or dis- 
aster. As we stepped into the boat, we had been confronted 
by the conspicuously-displayed and comforting notification 
where might be found the apparatus of the Humane Society, 
for the recovery of drowned persons; while beside it a man 
was just then posting the following placard : — "One pound 
reward for the body of William Jones, who was drowned 
yesterday, near Southwark Bridge. Had on a bluejacket 
and check shirt. To be kept afloat." To be kept afloat ! 
Poor fellow ! If he could have kept himself so, his old 
mother, for Elizabeth Jones, who signed the paper, was 
doubtless she, might have saved her pound, and rejoiced in 
a live son instead of mourning over a dead one. 

The tide and the sculls of our waterman soon brought us 



* 



108 



THE RIVER. 



to St. Catharine's Dock. This is the newest of these vast 
artificial harbours. It was crowded with ships, and sur- 
rounded with massive and substantial warehouses. Here 
was a great rendezvous of steamers, engaged in towing 
vessels on the river, or in the transportation of passengers. 
Others, of a larger description, only inferior in size and 
elegance to those I had been accustomed to see in my own 
country, lay moored in the stream, and served to connect 
London by a rapid communication with the remote ports of 
the kingdom, as Dublin, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Inver- 
ness, or with the continental cities of Rotterdam and Ham- 
burgh. Farther up the river was seen the fine front of the 
Custom-House, upon which the eye dwelt with complacency 
after the unsightly edifices that had hitherto skirted the 
shore ; while beyond opened, in symmetrical series, the 
arches of London Bridge. Between St. Catharine's Dock 
and the Custom-House, rose, in quaint and jagged outline, 
the walls, bastions, and pinnacled turrets of the Tower of 
London, — the Bastile of England in remote days, ere liberty 
had yet strengthened herself in the land. 

Erected by William the Conqueror, to secure the sub- 
jection of the capital of the fair kingdom which he had won, 
the Tower of London connects itself with every succeeding 
event in the history of our race. In more barbarous times 
than those in which w e live, it has been the prison-house 
and the place of execution of illustrious victims of tyranny, 
whose sufferings the historian has recorded, and the poet 
hallowed in undying verse. Here an arched passage under 
the wall once gave admittance to the real criminals who 
had meditated treason against the state, or those whom 
royal tyranny had marked for its victims. They were con- 
ducted by the river, with something of the secresy which 
marked the proceedings of the Inquisition in other countries ; 
and the name of the Traitor's Gate, that distinguished the 



» 



THE RIVER. 199 

dark passage through which they entered, like the Bridge 
of Sighs in Venice, intimated to the victim the nature of 
his fate. 

Having landed at the Tower steps, we were received by 
the Yeomen of the Guard, who permitted us to enter, and 
one of whom, cheered on and rendered courteous by the 
recollection of his fees, charged himself with conducting 
us. These yeomen, better known as beef-eaters, were 
dressed in doublet and bonnet, the picturesque dress of the 
days of Elizabeth. They should have had slashed breeches, 
red hose, and rosettes in their shoes, as is the case with 
those on duty in the palace at levees and festivals; but they 
were now in a species of undress, and their plain blue 
trousers marked their connexion with the age of utility. 
They were armed with heavy halberts, and had the post of 
honour at the gate, though the presence of the plainer- 
dressed infantry-soldier showed that there was here a gar- 
rison of another kind, and that the defence of this important 
arsenal and armory from popular insurrection, and of the 
state regalia from the hardihood of the swell mob, is not 
wholly intrusted to these burly and well-fed veterans. 

Within the courtyard, a number of objects were pointed 
out to us, that were rich in historical interest of the most 
romantic and mournful character. There stood the Bloody 
Tower in which the unfortunate young princes, Edward V. 
and his brother, are said to have been smothered by that 
Richard whom Shakspeare has consigned to an immor- 
tality of detestation. Within the walls of the adjoining 
church of St. Peter repose the headless trunks of count- 
less victims of their own misdeeds, or others' cruelty : 
bishops, nobles, queens of England, — a Somerset, a Dudley, 
a Monmouth, a Catharine Howard, and the ill-fated Anna 
Boleyn. The Beauchamp Tower is shown as the prison 
in which this last was confined, and whence she penned her 



200 THE RIVER. 

well-known epistle to her brutal lord. Here too was con- 
fined one whose fame was still purer, and her fate yet 
more deplorable, — the Lady Jane Grey. 

The Tower of London having long ceased to be formi- 
dable as a fortress, is now best known as the depository of 
the regalia of England, and as one of the most extensive 
armories in the world. There is one immense room con- 
taining, as we were told, no fewer than two hundred thou- 
sand muskets. They were most tastefully and conveniently 
arranged, and in perfect order. There was much here to 
convey an idea of the power of England, — of the strength 
which she could put forth. If there was something to indi- 
cate what she could do, there were also not a few objects 
to call to mind that which she had done. On all sides were 
seen trophies of her victories by land and sea; and in a 
noble gallery, called the Horse Armory, were arrayed in 
complete panoply, mounted, and lance in hand, the effigies 
of many of her greatest warriors, clad in the very armour 
which they had worn. If the sight of these vivid images 
of the heroes of other times, and the memory of their deeds 
which they recalled, awakened an admiration for the age 
in which they lived, there were not wanting other objects 
to qualify it, and turn the comparison in favour of our own. 
Among the various weapons possessing historical interest, 
which are here preserved, is the axe which severed the 
head of Anna Boleyn. In that age, a queen of England 
suspected of infidelity, or whose person had ceased to give 
pleasure to her lord, was decapitated with as little cere- 
mony as a barn-yard fowl in ours. All that is changed; 
and if an unfaithful or unpalatable queen is to be despatch- 
ed now, it is only by the mortification of a public trial, and 
the contemptuous exclusion from the pageant of a corona- 
tion. 

The regalia of England is preserved in a very massive, 



THE RIVEK 



201 



strong tower, without windows, and quite dark from 
without, being lit by a powerful lamp, which exhibits the 
brilliancy and value of the precious stones. Every thing 
is admirably arranged for exhibition ; the imperial crown, 
and other of the most precious articles, are turned round, 
so as to be seen on all sides, by means of an ingenious 
machinery, touched by the ancient dame who exhibits them. 
Comfortable seats, with stuffed cushions, are arranged for 
the spectators, whence they may sit and listen to the studied 
oration of the exhibiter, and gloat at their ease over the 
priceless treasure. After the mournful associations of the 
tower, there was something wonderfully ludicrous in tbe 
discourse of the old show-woman. It was the farce fol- 
lowing upon the heels of the tragedy. She has held the 
same station, and sung the same song, from daylight to 
dark during a score of years ; it was chanted in a sort of 
whining recitative, and some parts of it ran as follows: — 
" This is the golden font what baptises hall the princes and 
princesses of the royal family ; the hampuler or golden 
heagle as olds the oly hoil what hanoints the king hat the 
coronation, the golden fountain what plays the wine at the 
coronation ; the golden salt-cellar of state in the form of the 
White Tower, what stands at the king's table at the corona- 
tion ; Harmilla, hor bracelets ; Curtana, the sword of Jus- 
tice and hof Mercy ; the Golden spoon." After an awful pause 
to prepare for the climax, in a tone of increased earnestness 
and importance she went on — " This is the Himperial 
Crown ; the pearl upon the top was pawned by Cromwell 
in Olland for eighteen thousand pounds ; the red stone 
which you see is an uncut ruby of hinesteemable valhew ; 
without the ruby the crown is valued at one million of 
pounds." Here ended the oration. It was recited in a 
studied strain, and, by the aid of the euphonious word 



THE RIVER. 



M coronation 1 ' so frequently recurring, had a most dancing 
poetical sound. 

I was so greatly amused that, as there happened to be 
plenty of room, I remained to hear the same song sung over 
again to the next party. When they were gone, I suggested 
to my friend the very American idea of selling " the uncut 
ruby of inestimable value" for the purpose of completing 
the tunnel. As I expected, the old woman was struck with 
horror, opening her eyes and lifting her hands with a lack-a- 
daisical expression which was irresistibly ludicrous: yet she 
spoke not — her ideas seemed to follow only one track — 
her daily meditations and nightly musings, with the muttered 
words that reveal the tenour of her dreams, all, doubtless, 
tell only of the coronation and its regalia. 

This, however, like all extreme cases, I found a little 
beyond the truth, and that there was another idea that vi- 
brated in her mind, and one other song thatshew r as capable 
of singing to the tune of half-a-crown. Having a particular 
fondness for putting people in a good humour with their 
condition, I could not help saying to her, "How happy you 
are to be able to see all these fine things for nothing every 
day!" To which she replied, with unexpected sprightli- 
ness, " An hi honly got that for my pains hi should be 
badly hoff!" 

Though somewhat shocked at my extraordinary propo- 
sition, after all she was a woman ; and when I told her that I 
was dying for a glass of water, though quite out of her line, 
she kindly undertook to procure me some, and sent the 
yeoman who accompanied us to her quarters in quest of it. 
When I told her, as I took leave, that she had probably 
saved my life, she quite forgave the previous atrocity of my 
proposition, although, no doubt, she still looked upon me 
aB a strange, unintelligible fellow, all of which would cer- 



THE K1VEK. 



«0K 



taiuly have seemed obvious and natural enough to her had 
she but known th*at I came from a country which, so far 
from possessing an imperial crown, a golden orb, a sceptre 
and dove, had not even a curtana, an armilla, or ampulla, 
or golden eagle, and undertook to transact the gravest 
affairs without so much as a golden salt-cellar of state. 



CHAPTER XVII. 



OMNIBUS ADVENTURES. 

St. Catharine's Dock — Paddington Omnibus — Party of Passengers— A 
Blockade — Angel Inn — Pentonville — Adelphi Theatre. 

As we were in the neighbourhood of St. Catharine's 
Dock, the occasion seemed favourable for going to see it, 
and, at the same time, to take a look at the Hannibal. The 
St. Catharine's Dock is the most recently-constructed of 
all the docks of London, having only been opened in 1828, 
in less than two years from the time of its commencement. 
It covers a space of twenty-four acres in extent, about half 
of which forms the artificial harbour in which the vessels 
float, and the rest is covered by the sheds and warehouses 
that surround it. Every thing was massive and grand in 
the construction of this vast establishment. The walls of 
the dock were formed of hewn stones of vast size, while 
the lofty edifices surrounding it were supported upon cast- 
iron columns of enormous bulk. The open space below 
formed a covered shed, under which the cargoes discharg- 
ed from the vessels adjoining are at once placed under 
cover from the weather. Here were vessels from all parts 
of the world ; and the cotton, potashes, and turpentine of 



oMMBUS ADVENTURES. 



America, mingled their odours with hides from South 
America, or the more savoury teas and spices of the East. 
The buildings that enclose the dock, not only contain 
extensive warehouses for goods, but the offices connected 
with the docks themselves, as well as a branch of the 
custom-house : so that all the business connected with the 
lading or discharging of a ship may be despatched upon the 
spot. It struck me as furnishing a striking instance of 
the liberal way in which establishments are conducted here, 
to be told that the secretary of this institution, which is a 
joint-stock company, established with a view to profit and 
the beneficial investment of money, was himself a man of 
fortune, and, moreover, a city knight, who has, in the 
buildings of the dock, a magnificent suite of rooms, where 
he entertains the directors in a costly style at the expense 
of the company, from which he receives, besides, a most 
liberal salary. These docks are rendered necessary in 
London by the great rise and fall of the tide, which make 
it impossible for vessels to float beside the banks of the river, 
and as an only alternative to discharging and lading with 
much expense, difficulty, and risk, in the crowded anchor- 
age in the middle of the stream. Some idea may be formed 
of the extent and magnificence of these works, from the 
circumstance of St. Catharine's Dock having cost, in the 
purchase of the ground, the excavation, and constructions, 
no less a sum than two millions sterling. 

Finding our way through a variety of antique thoroughfares 
to Eastcheap, Lombard-street, and Cornhill, we circum- 
navigated the Exchange, and deposited ourselves safely in 
an omnibus, to drive to the neighbourhood of Regent's 
Park. The cad, who stood, like a parrot on his perch, at 
the side of the door, was chattering away a collection of set 
phrases in a nasal style of cockney eloquence. He seemed 
to know our object ere we were quite sure of it ourselves; 



OMNIBUS ADVENTURES.' 



and, beckoning in a coaxing and most winning way with 
his forefinger, very politely invited us to get in. I had 
frequent occasion afterward to be amused with the very 
different measure of courtesy which is meted out to the 
coming and departing passenger, as well as the iofty and 
independent air which the cads about the Exchange assume 
in wet weather, when each man, as he enters, is informed 
that lie cannot pass for less than a shilling, instead of the 
customary sixpence, which is the common fare from the 
Bank to Paddington. 

The omnibus into which we entered was nearly full. 
Near the door sat — motionless, and intrenched behind an 
unapproachable dignity, apparently calculated to neutralize 
the condescension which had induced her to enter so 
common a conveyance — a thin, starved, prim old maid, 
who had very much the air of a retired housekeeper, whom 
business connected with the investment of her spoils of 
office might have led to the inelegant precincts of Change- 
alley. There she sat, perpendicularly upright, her sharp 
knees thrust out at right angles, and pressed together with 
the fixed resolvedness of a confirmed and uncompromising 
celibataire. She was evidently determined to move or 
make room for nobody, and getting by her was very much 
like what one might fancy a journey among chevaux-de- 
frise. Presently after came another woman of a certain 
age, whose wasted face was excessively rouged. She was 
most flauntingly dressed, having a long pelerine cape de- 
pending on either side from her red silk cloak ; her head 
was covered with a bonnet of not inferior pretension to 
Jeanie's famed Lunardi, which Burns's verse shows us to 
have been so awfully desecrated. It was lined with lace, 
decked with many-coloured and fluttering ribands, and had, 
on the very summit, instead of the " ugly, creepin', blastit 
wonner" which the poet apostrophizes, a single ambitious 



oMNTRls ADVENTURES. *>7 

Utile leather, that stood proudly on end, like a cock when 
it is about to crow. The elegant lady, whose garments 
were redolent of musk and mille fleurs, stopped at the 
threshold, exclaiming, " Where am I to sit? 1 don't see 
how I'm to get by." The stiff* lady would not budge an 
inch. The guard, having his number of fourteen complete, 
closed the door, leaving the difficulty to settle itself, and 
for answer only crying to the driver, "All right!" The 
horses started, and the elegant lady came with violence 
upon the stiff one, clawing her bonnet in the effort to save 
herself. I felt sure that there was to be a fight, and was 
grieved to the heart to find that there was to be no scat- 
tering of false hair and ribands. A benevolent and fat 
citizen endeavoured to make himself thin for her sake, and 
contrived to squeeze her in beside him. And so we set 
forward. 

We were not, however, doomed to proceed far on our 
way thus happily. As we turned into Coleman-street, 
there was already the beginning of one of those blockades or 
embarrassments of which I had already seen many in my 
short rambles through the city. Our driver, instead of 
waiting where he was, pressed forward, blocked the pass, 
and rendered the entanglement complete. It was a con- 
fused mass of ponderous carts and w r aggons, of immense 
ambulatory advertisers, huge skeleton houses covered with 
handbills, mimic steam-boats with funnels mounted upon 
wheels, and pasted with placards of packets from Dover 
and Southampton ; there were hackney-coaches and cabs, 
donkey -chaises, and the cart of an unfortunate cats'-meat 
merchant, whose unhappy coadjutors, a couple of greasv 
dogs, terrified, and with their tails between their legs, 
sought refuge from the crash and confusion by crawling 
stealthily with their vehicle uuder the ambulatory adver- 
tiser, in the hope of finding protection under its shadow. 



OMNIBUS ADVENTURES. 



Loud and angry voices began to be heard in curses and 
recrimination on every side ; there was likely to be a ge- 
neral crash, succeeded by a fight. The stiff lady continued 
to look dignified; the dashing lady, terrified by the noise, 
the uproar, and the possibility of a catastrophe, began to 
sicken with apprehension, and partly, perhaps, with her 
own perfumes. She made known her condition to the be- 
nevolent citizen beside her, and begged to be permitted to 
approach the door. The scene approached its climax of 
confusion and absurdity, and I was delighted. Just then a 
policeman stepped up and looked into the matter. There 
was a stout gentleman immediately before us, whose hearty 
condition did not protect him from impatience; he sat bolt 
upright in a little gig, grasping his whip with energy, and 
grating his teeth, as if he had courage sufficient to drive 
the little pony that drew him over every obstacle that op- 
posed his progress to his suburban box, where, at a given 
hour and minute, awaited his expecting rib, and the custo- 
mary joint of mutton. The policeman, without asking 
leave of the choleric citizen, very quietly took the pony by 
the head, and drew pony, gig, and gentleman high and dry 
upon the side-walk. He then caused our omnibus to ad- 
vance to the left, and made room for a clamorous drayman 
to pass us. This was a stout fellow, in blue frock, 
breeches, and hobnailed shoes, with a well-fed, florid, beer- 
drinking physiognomy. He was not satisfied with simply 
getting by, but paused a moment to vent his abuse against 
the omnibuses. He addressed the policeman in a some- 
what threatening tone — " Why ar'n't you made that hom- 
nibus keep back ? Theys want smashing ;" and, seeing me 
smile with delight at the comic oddity of the scene, he 
shook his head angrily, and whip at the same time, as he 
presently added, "and them as rides in um as well!" As 
he passed across our stern, he gave a practical illustration 



OMNIBUS ADVENTURES. 



209 



of his idea, by causing his heavy hind wheel to come in con- 
tact with our projecting step, so as to carry off a part of it, 
and give the whole vehicle a fearful twitch, which brought 
the elegant lady's heart into her mouth, and her luncheon 
with it, and even sent a tremour over the rigid frame of 
her stiff antagonist. 

The press now began to diminish, and the possibility of 
ultimate escape to dawn upon us. The opposite lines of 
vehicles got slowly into motion; the citizen, placed upon 
the shelf so unceremoniously, came down from his digni- 
fied station, and cracked his whip with renewed impatience. 
The dogs of the cats'-meat merchant stole out from their 
retreat under the ambulatory advertiser, and gradually 
raised their tails with an air of recovered importance ; and 
we, following in our turn, released ourselves at length 
dexterously from the press, and went on our way rejoicing. 

Soon we came to Finsbury Square, — the scene of urban 
grandeur in past times, where merchants first conceived the 
idea of living apart from their counting-houses; now, with 
the growth of more fashionably ambitious views, aban- 
doned to inferior traders and dependants of commerce, for 
the fresher glories of the West End. Presently we entered 
the City Road, passing the turnpike gate, one of a complete 
series that surrounds the capital, occasioning a delay and 
inconvenience to travellers, which the stranger is apt to 
think might be advantageously obviated without detriment 
to the excellent condition of the roads, — at all events 
within the immediate precincts of the metropolis, by some 
other species of taxation of less inconvenient collection. 

Passing the vast warehouses in which goods are depo- 
sited for transportation by the canal for the interior, which 
reaches the place by means of a tunnel excavated under the 
surface, and without loss of valuable ground, we came at 
length to the Angel Inn, situated at the fork of several 

14 



OMNIBUS ADVENTURES. 



roads leading to the north of England, and well-nigh as 
great a thoroughfare and halting-place as the Elephant and 
Castle, at the opposite extremity, by which I had, a few 
days before, entered London. Here the passing was pro- 
digious, and the movement and activity unbounded. 

We halted here a few minutes to set down and take up 
pasengers ; and so again on the New Road at King's Cross, 
and Tottenham Corner. The time of stopping at each place 
was three minutes ; and persons were stationed on the spot 
to take note of the time, and compel each driver to go on 
the moment another had arrived to replace him. It was 
the object of each to remain at the station as long as pos- 
sible, so as to leave as much space as might be between 
his predecessor and himself, and increase the chances of 
finding passengers to pick up. Hence the motive for driving 
through quick, to dislodge the antecedent, which they ac- 
cordingly do at a most furious pace, to the infinite terror 
of whatever lies in the way. Hence, also, frequent con- 
tentions with each other, and quarrels with the police. The 
papers were daily filled with accounts of outrages com- 
mitted by omnibus ruffians, as they were familiarly and 
habitually called. With a view to abate this nuisance, an 
act of Parliament had been passed, authorizing the police 
to take into custody, without lodging a complaint, the 
drivers of any public vehicles which might be found ob- 
structing the king's highway. Soon after, I saw an account 
of two drivers of omnibuses having been taken into custody 
at the King's Cross, and fined forty shillings each under 
this act. The next day there was a most amusing notice 
of the manner in which the same two individuals contrived 
to break the law, interfere with the public convenience, and 
yet to avoid the infliction of the penalty. To do this, they 
actually came upon the ground chained fast to their boxes, 
and secured with padlocks ; and when the police atttempted 



OMNIBUS ADVENTURES. 



•ill 



to arrest them, they laughed them to scorn, and shook their 
chains at them. 

"Set me down at Maiden Lane!" said the stiff lady, with 
an air of authority. " This is the very place," said the driver, 
stopping his horses. She stumbled to the door, trampling 
upon those in the way, and commenced expostulating with 
the cad. " I can't get out in this here mud." The omni- 
bus remained quiet, and the worthy resident of Maiden Lane, 
having fumbled and hunted her pocket, at length drew forth 
a reluctant sixpence, and went off grumbling and muttering, 
casting scornful and vindictive glances at the departing 
vehicle, as she surveyed her soiled shoes and draggled finery. 

As we drove through this part of London, which is called 
Pentonville, it began to improve greatly in appearance. 
The smoke was much less dense, and the atmosphere of a 
less artificial character. The houses were of more recent 
construction, and were frequently built in terraces, on a 
uniform plan, standing back from the road, and having an 
enclosed and planted space of ground in front, for the re- 
creation of the neighbouring inmates. Here, too, were a 
number of public buildings, though none of them possessed 
any particuliar beauty. There was one, however, of gjreat 
pretension, which particularly attracted my attention. This 
was the church of St. Pancras. It was in a classical taste, 
finely executed in Portland stone. In its details it was 
very beautiful. The body of the church was simple, well- 
proportioned, and elegant; the portico, sustained upon six 
Ionic columns, was strikingly beautiful; the projecting wings 
at the extremity, containing the vestry-room and registry, 
were pleasing objects in themselves; and the steeple was, 
singly considered, graceful and very elegant. I was not 
astonished to hear that the church itself was imitated from 
an Athenian temple, as also the steeple, which is copied 
from the Temple of the Winds, in the same city. This 

n ■ 



212 



A MELODRAME 



church was a singular instance, how in architecture a (It- 
pleasing and monstrous whole may be produced, by the 
blending of discordant and inharmonious beauties. Each 
part of this edifice, when separately considered, was beau- 
tiful, yet the whole was offensive to the eye. 

That night I went to the Adelphi Theatre, to see a num - 
ber of small pieces in the style of the French vaudevilles. 
They were no fewer than four in number. One of them 
was the Rake and his Pupil, which was full of triumphant 
vice, and the Butterfly's Ball, which was a tissue of folly and 
absurdity of the most consummate kind. There was also a 
melodrame, entitled Grace Huntley, which I beheld with 
great interest, because it was true to nature, and evidently 
a faithful picture of manners ; possibly the mere dramatizing 
of something which had actually occurred within the know- 
ledge of the author of the piece. The story is as follows : — 

Grace Huntley is a sweet, interesting, sensitive girl, who 
becomes attached to a vicious village hero, who has 
already' made some progress in the career of vice. Her 
father, knowing the character of Joseph Huntley, for such 
is his name, and being devoted to his daughter, whose hap- 
piness is the sole care of his heart, forbids her to think of 
him, or ever to see him again. She promises to obey her 
father's injunctions; but having previously granted a ren- 
dezvous to Joseph in her own house at midnight, which is 
a very customary moral of the English stage, she cannot 
forego her desire to see and embrace him for the last time. 
She opens the door, as had been concerted, andJoseph enters, 
introducing at the same time one Sandy Smith, a notorious 
ruffian, with whom he had planned the robbery of the fa- 
ther's property, consisting chiefly in a casket of gold. Af- 
ter a very tender interview in the dark, and the customary 
quantity of kissing and dalliance for the benefit of the au- 
dience, Huntley takes his leave. She closes the door and 



A MELODRAMK. 



2l.{ 



retires. The ruffian Smith now comes forth, a specimen 
of the cold-blooded, heartless English thief, with appro- 
priate slang about lush, blunt, and the like. Huntley had 
given him information where the treasure was to be found, 
a secret which he had previously extracted from his confid- 
ing mistress. He forces the drawer, possesses himself of 
the casket, aud is about retiring, when the aged man, hear- 
ing a noise, comes forth and seizes the thief as he is about 
escaping through the window. They struggle a moment 
together, and Grace's father falls, stabbed to the heart by 
the ruffian. Grace enters to see the consequences of her 
disobedience in admitting her lover, and of course the scene 
is sufficiently deplorable. 

There is now an interval of some years, and Grace, who 
is represented as a model of female delicacy and virtue, 
and in whose favour the sympathies are enlisted without 
any qualification, appears as the wife of Huntley, the man 
who had caused the murder of her doting father. They 
are the parents of a lad who is now eight years old. Her 
property had been wasted ; she is in a wretched state of 
want; a neglected, care-worn, heart-broken, yet still fond 
and affectionate woman. Her husband leaves her for 
days together to go forth marauding ; he rejects the prof- 
fered kindness with which she greets his return, and, not 
content with thus requiting her affection to himself, he robs 
her of the attachment and allegiance of her child, and 
seduces him away to assist him in his career of crime. 

Sandy Smith, the associate villain, now appears again 
upon the scene. They have a plot for the robbery of a 
neighbouring squire. The child is necessary to its execu- 
tion, he being able, from his size, to pass through a grated 
window, and open the door within for their admission. 
The mother, who suspects the nature of the project, ex- 
postulates with her husband about the vicious inclinations 



K MKLODKAM B. 



and waning affections of her son, who is now more than 
half seduced from his duty to her. He pushes her from 
him In disdain, swearing that she shall yet have the satisfac- 
tion of seeing her son end his days on the gallows. The 
rogues elude the mother's watchfulness; the child himself 
deceives her, hy appearing to be asleep ; and presently she 
finds that he is gone. She is now half distracted with 
apprehension and horror. She rushes forth in the midst 
of a violent storm. Directing her steps to a solitary hut, 
which is the lair of Smith, she discovers, through a cleft in 
the door, Smith and Huntley concealing some plate and 
other spoil, assisted hy her child. The sight overpowers 
her, and she rushes madly away. 

There is now a violent struggle between her still fondly 
lingering love for her husband, and her affection for her 
child. The threat that she should see him hanging still 
rings in her ears, and she already fancies it realized. The 
maternal feeling prevails over all else. She goes to a 
justice of the peace, and denounces her husband and his 
associate, claiming only forgiveness for her child. Here 
is atrial, and a succession of deplorable scenes. Huntley 
is found guilty on the testimony of his wife, and the child 
liberated. She falls at the feet of her husband, pleads her 
interest in her boy, and begs for his forgiveness. He 
curses and spurns her. At length, however, to relieve the 
strained sensibilities of the audience, he is made to relent. 
There is a reconciliation. She tells him how she wiU 
nurture and train to virtue the child of their affection ; and 
in the midst of a most pathetic parting, ventures to put 
forth the hope that they may yet meet and be happy in 
that distant land to which he was exiled. It would not 
have been poetical to name that land — which was, of course, 
no other than Botany Bay. 

Such briefly was this piece, to which a perfectly natural 



A MELODRAME. 



21* 



performance gave a striking character of reality, winding 
(he feelings up to a painful pitch of excitement. My readers 
can judge for themselves both of the good taste and the 
moral tendency of exhibitions such as these. Let us hope, 
that in imitating a stage from which we borrow alike the 
pieces and those who are to perform them, some pains 
may be taken to exclude from our theatres such dramas as 
Grace Huntley, which have no reference to any state of 
manners existing among us; which tend to familiarize the 
mind with crime, and exhibit life in its most atrocious forms; 
and which select vice for their theme, instead of seeking 
inspirations in the beauty and loveliness of virtue. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



SUNDAY IN LONDON. 

Church — Drive to Hyde Park — Apsley House — The Park — Equipages — 
Air of the Groups — Zoological Gardens — A Melancholy Monkey. 

The next day, being Sunday, I went to church, directing 
my steps towards the venerable temple of St. Martin's-in- 
the-Fields. Once a suburban parish church, it is now in 
one of the densest quarters of London,' with the town ex- 
tending for miles in every direction. The door was defended 
by fat beadles, with laced hats and cloaks, and heavy maces, 
who had the same occupation of keeping order among 
mischief-making urchins as is assigned to the less richly- 
dressed and portly heroes of the rattan, who perform the 
same office in our country. A female pew-opener con- 
ducted me with great civility to an unoccupied seat, having 
in mind the customary sixpenny worth of gratification which 
was to be the reward of her courtesy. 

There was very little difference in the services here from 
what I had been accustomed to in the Episcopal churches 
of my own country. I noticed a little more variety in the 
costume, occasioned by the caps and badges, which gave 
evidence of university rank and honours. There was simply 
the prayer for the weal of the state, in which "Our so- 



SUNDAY IN LONDON. 



vereign lord the King" occurred instead of 44 the President," 
which the change in our government has rendered ne- 
cessary for us to substitute. The worship was performed 
with solemnity, and the responses were perhaps more ge- 
nerally made by the congregation than with us. I noticed 
that every one, in entering the pew, hid his head in his hat 
for a moment, and was, or seemed to be, absorbed in a 
short preparatory prayer. Perhaps there was somewhat 
more of a professional air in the clergymen, as if what they 
were doing was in the way of business, for which they were 
sufficiently paid, rather than a work of predilection. The 
females were not so well dressed, and the men perhaps 
better, than they would have been with us. There was less 
intelligence in the genera! cast of countenance than wouid 
have been found probably in an American congregation of 
the same number; but there was a decidedly greater pre- 
vailing air of health, an appearance of less thought and 
care, and altogether a more happy and cheerful aspect. 

In the afternoon, one of my countrymen, residing in 
London, came to drive me to Hyde Park. Passing down 
Pall Mall, we came to St. James's Palace, which I had not 
yet seen. It is of dingy brick, with Elizabethan windows 
irregularly scattered about the front, and having a Gothic 
portal, flanked by octagonal towers. It is alike destitute of 
grace, elegance, and grandeur ; and perhaps it is impossible 
anywhere to see a palace having less the air of one. In 
turning up St. James's-street, there were many club-rooms, 
whose external appearance was far more imposing. There 
were a few stray fashionables lingering about the doors ; 
and some tall, fine-looking officers of the Guards, whose 
companies were doubtless on duty at the Palace. 

Turning down Piccadilly, we found ourselves iti the 
full whirl of one of the greatest of the London thorough- 
fares. An army of coaches and omnibuses were drawn 



218 



SUNDAY IN LONDON. 



up about a famous booking office, which was pointed out 
to me as the noted White Horse Cellar. Beyond, were 
some fine mansions of the rich and great, which looked 
out on as disagreeable a scene of noise, confusion, and 
dust, as ever Broadway could lay claim to. In front, 
however, the Green Park was in view, extending itself in 
a succession of groves and lawns, and tending, in some 
degree, to qualify what was disagreeable in the situation. 

Presently we reached the entrance to Hyde Park. Here, 
at the corner, stands Apsley House, the town mansion of 
the Duke of Wellington. It has a pediment and colonnade 
in front, which, with other architectural ornaments, tend 
rather to disfigure than embellish it, — as it is wanting 
in just proportions, has a very stilted look, and is shaped 
very much like a common dwelling. It is well placed, 
however, for the residence of a distinguished individual, 
who has been so conspicuously before the public as the 
noble inmate. It overlooks both the Green and Hyde Park, 
which are here entered by imposing triumphal arches, and 
commands a view in the latter of the colossal statue of 
Achilles, cast from cannon captured in the Peninsula, and 
dedicated to the duke and his companions in arms by 
their countrywomen. 

There is, however, an imperious obstacle to the illustrious 
soldier's contemplating this tribute of national gratitude, in 
the shape of bullet-proof blinds, which were affixed to 
all the windows of Apsley House, for the protection of the 
immates from popular violence, at the time when the 
public mind was agitated by the question of Paliamentary 
reform, of which the iron duke was the strenuous opposer. 
The very residence which the gratitude of his countrymen 
had either bestowed on him or enabled him to purchase, 
then required to be fortified to protect his life against 
I heir fury. It was a singular instance of the durability 



SUNDAY IN LONDON, 



and value of popular applause, that the individual who 
had shed (he first glory on the British arms that they had 
known on land since the days of Marlborough, after having 
been raised, by the universal acclamation of a whole 
admiring nation, to the first place, as a subject, in rank, 
honour, and public estimation, should, without the com- 
mission of any crime, without any stretch of authority, and 
for the simple maintenance of that right of opinion which 
the constitution permitted to him, find himself, after an 
interval of a few years, so much the object of public 
rage and detestation as to need such a protection for his 
life in the sanctuary of his fireside. 

Hyde Park is not a very attractive place in itself, con- 
sidered as a public promenade. It is a naked plain, 
almost entirely destitute of undulation and variety, and 
having few trees. There are some fine mansions adjoining 
it, and the Serpentine, with its bridges, produces a pleas- 
ing effect ; but, on the whole, it is greatly inferior both to 
St, James's and Regent's Park, though a much more 
fashionable resort than either. 

It was not the gay season in London, and I remembered 
well the decision of the ladies' maids on the coach from 
Gravesend, that there was absolutely nobody in town. 
Yet here was an immense crowd of well-dressed people 
filling every avenue, and thousands of fine equipages pass- 
ing each other in parallel files. Here, too, were well- 
mounted horsemen, followed by not less well-mounted 
grooms, and quantities of city worthies, clerks and ap- 
prentices doubtless, scuffling and labouring hard with 
unfortunate hackneys, which, if they were superior to 
those " old hair trunks" which it was the doom of the 
gay and sprightly Fanny to honour with her gentle pres- 
sure on our transatlantic shores, were yet not so much 



210 



SUNDAY IN LONDON . 



so as lo conceal their connexion with the same ill-starred 
fraternity, the public's horses, in all countries. 

The scene, while it reminded me of similar ones in 
Madrid, Naples, Milan, Lima, or Havanna, presented strik- 
ing differences, growing out of national character. In 
all these places the company seemed to be known to each 
other, and to have come together full of life and spirits, 
and the determination to be pleased. The nods of re- 
cognition, the graceful beckoning of the fan or fingers, the 
brightening eye, and the passing word of salutation, ex- 
changed with warmth and kindness, all, as I thought of 
them, brought vividly to my mind the charms of the paseo. 
Hyde Park, on the contrary, though excelling in the mag- 
nificence of the equipages, the liveries, and the horses, 
everything of the sort I had ever seen, was, if one looked 
to the countenances of the assistants, a scene of gloom and 
despondency. The crowd seemed to have come forth, not 
in search of joy, but to parade its ennuis. It was a col- 
lection of sullen looks and care-worn countenances. None 
seemed to know each other, and there was no gay inter- 
change of sprightly recognition. 

Something of this may have been owing to the enormous 
size of the capital, of which this was the gathering ; but 
more to the prevailing absence of sociality, and to the 
distinction of classes and the various shades of respec- 
tability, as numerous as the individuals laying claim to it. 
Many, doubtless, who were proud to claim each other 
as friends in the avenues of the Exchange the day before, 
now, skilled in all the arts of cutting as practised in this 
country, of which it is the classic land, contrived to be 
looking in some other direction as they approached an 
acquaintance whose recognition might ruin them, or else 
to stare at him with a vacant, unconscious gaze. Perhaps 



SUNDAY IN LONDON 



2>>l 



the most striking cause of the gloom and solemnity of this 
scene of amusement might be found, after all, in the musing 
and contemplative character of our race, and might equally 
be noticed on similar occasions in our own country. We 
have little of that gushing flow of spirits and exuberant 
desire to be pleased which characterize so many other 
people. We are grave, solemn, and reflective in the 
midst of our sports, and are apt to carry with us to scenes 
of festivity that melancholy and musing mood which is the 
prevailing habit of our minds. 

Leaving this glittering yet disheartening scene, we drove 
to the Regent's Park. The press had been so great at 
the place we had just left, that it seemed as though all the 
world were there assembled. Yet here it was scarce in- 
ferior. Crowds of carriages and led horses surrounded 
the Zoological Gardens, in attendance upon those who 
were engaged in the favourite Sunday amusement of Lon- 
don, — a visit to the wild beasts. In the gay season it is 
perhaps the most fashionable resort of the metropolis ; and 
I have seen, at the same time, dukes and marquises, a 
prime minister, a lord high chancellor, and distinguished 
leaders of the opposition, deposing their grandeurs, their 
cares of state, and brooding intrigues and aspirations after 
office, to gather quietly round, and witness peaceably to- 
gether, the manoeuvres of the cameleopard and the rhino- 
ceros, or the bathing of the elephant. 

This is an institution which had its origin in that spirit 
of association which has achieved so much in England. 
At the end of a very few years it already exceeds what 
royal munificence has only been able to accomplish in a 
succession of reigns in a neighbouring capital. The pay- 
ment of a trifling subscription, by many people, has led to 
the creation of a beautiful garden, of a tasteful and pleas- 
ing arrangement, such as is peculiar to this country. Spe- 



'22-2 



SUNDAY IN LONDON. 



cimens of rare, curious, and beautiful animals have been 
collected from every corner of the world, and the study of 
the si ructure, character, and habits of what is most in- 
teresting in the works of the Creator is thus rendered easy 
and entertaining to the young. The arrangement of the 
species is made with great care and order, and many of 
the animals are lodged in rustic cottages, in the style of the 
country from which they came. Here, too, are strange 
exotic plants; so that a walk through this garden is in some 
measure like a rapid journey over the world. 

In order to connect two portions of the garden lying on 
different sides of the public road, without the inconve- 
nience of traversing it, there is a beautiful tunnel, which 
carries the footway tastefully beneath it. Everything, in 
short, about this establishment, which might be repeated 
in the neighbourhood of any of our large cities, if the taste 
and public spirit were not wanting, is of a finished and 
perfect character. 

Among all the animals here collected, the monkeys were, 
as usual, the decided favourites, in attracting both little 
children and those who were full grown. So far as my 
own tastes go, they are to me the most disgusting of ani- 
mals. I cannot understand the pleasure which is found 
in such pets as these, and should as soon think of making a 
companion of a monkey, as of the individual who could 
be gratified by such an association. To say nothing of its 
odour, which should be enough to satisfy ordinary sensibi- 
lity, I cannot endure it for its resemblance to man. When 
I look at one, and watch its movements, so like our own, 
the way in which it uses its fingers, evinces affection, or 
nurses its young, and, above ail, when I study its counte- 
nance, in which intelligence and inquiry may be detected, 
or pleasure and pain, expressing themselves by smiles and 
frowns, just as in the human face divine, it almost seems 



SUNDAY IN LONDON. 



223 



to me as it nature had been seized with an excess of ridi- 
cule and satire, and humbled itself to the taste of carica- 
turing humanity. May not this be meant to inculate a lesson 
of humility, by showing us, that with all our god-like qua- 
lities, we are, after all, but a better order of monkeys? 

There was here one large baboon which more parti- 
cularly attracted my attention, and which I looked on 
with even more horror than that general aversion I have 
described. He was a solitary and fierce monkey, shut up 
by himself, quite alone, and devoured by ennui. When I 
first discovered him, he was sitting musing, and with a 
most misanthropic Rousseau-Byronic expression, in a cor- 
ner of his cell. If it had been lawful for a baboon to 
quote poetry, I am sure he would have broken forth into 
the exclamation — 

" Forced from home and all its treasures. 

Afric's coast I left forlorn ; 
To increase a stranger's treasures, 

On the raging billows borne. 
Men from England bought and sold me, 

Paid my price in paltry gold ; 
But, though slave they have enrolled me, 

Minds are never to be sold." 

I do not think, though, he could have had the heart to 
utter this, lest it should have been the means of getting 
up a monkey mania, and putting this unfortunate country 
to the expense of another twenty millions' worth of gene- 
rosity, for, the emancipation of monkeys. He would, per- 
haps, rather have been satisfied to exclaim — 

" It must be so ; why, else, have I this sense 
Of more than monkey charms and excellence ? 
Why else to walk on two so oft essayed, 
And why this ardent passion for a maid ?" 

This not being permitted, he was content to look it, which 



224 



SUNDAY IN LONDON 



lie did every line and letter, together with other things 
unutterable. Presently he began to kick the straw about, 
like a miserable bachelor lying on his back, and tossing 
the clothes about for the want of more agreeable pastime. 
Then he seemed to come to a little; rose, picked the straw 
off his person, ran his fingers through his hair, and made 
his toilet. Now he seemed better pleased with himself, 
and looked along his figure admiringly. A wooden ball 
had been given him to beguile the tedium of existence. 
This he now threw against the side of his house, and 
caught, and threw again — having a very quiet little game 
of fives to himself. But the effort to struggle against his 
cares and be gay was evidently an abortive one; he pre- 
sently relapsed into melancholy, and the satanic mood 
came over him again. Catching the idle toy that was 
given to him in the place of creature comforts, he bit it 
with rage and vexation, then threw it down, tore his hair 
with both hands, and actually looked round as if for some- 
thing to commit suicide. I feel morally sure that if at 
that moment I had handed him my open penknife, he would 
have carried it at once to his jugular. His rage seemed 
to overpower him ; and he sank helpless in the corner, 
covering himself with straw to shut out a hateful world 
and its impertinent observation. Such was the gnawing 
misanthropy of the melancholy monkey. No one could 
resist the hardship of his case, to be thus condemned 
without crime to solitary confinement — or, in comparing 
the recluse with those so little his superiors in "charms 
and excellence," who hovered about as spectators, walking 
upright, with wives upon their arms, could venture to 
deny that, with reason on his side — 

" Poor pug might plead, and call his gods unkind. 
Till set on end, and married to his mind." 



CHAPTER XIX. 



NOVEMBER IN LONDON. 

Rainy Streets — Adventures in the Mud — A Cat's-meat Merchant — Um- 
brellas — Lahour Exchange — Conversation of Workies — R. D. Owen. 

Hitherto the weather had been very fine, not only since 
my arrival in London, but also since our approach to the 
English coast, nearly a fortnight before. The wind had 
generally blown from the south, bringing with it a mild and 
balmy air, which compared most advantageously with what 
was doubtless the prevailing temperature at the time in the 
lower latitude of my own country. The atmosphere, though 
not cloudy, was yet not clear; an imperceptible film, which 
I afterward found to be the attendant of even the brightest 
English day, was spread in a gauzelike veil over the heavens. 
Through it the dim sun struggled ; and as he performed a 
small section of a circle far in the southern horizon for his 
prescribed course, looked down with tempered and languid 
gaze upon the landscape. Though there was a dulness in 
the climate as it thus exhibited itself, yet there was also some- 
thing calm, melancholy, and contemplative in it which har- 
monized with my feelings. I had almost begun to doubt 
in the existence of those fogs and showers with which London 



1 5 



220 



NOVEMBER IN LONDON. 



was associated in my imagination. Now, however, the 
scene was to be changed ; a new week was to introduce a 
new system; and London was to exhibit itself in all the 
horrors of its November attire. 

On Monday morning it was only by the aid of a light 
that I could contrive to make my toilet; and on descending 
to the coffee-room, the like aid was not unwelcome in dis- 
cussing breakfast and the newspaper. If there were much 
that was sad and gloomy in the scene within doors, the 
spectacle from the windows was most deplorable. The 
street ran down with rain and mud, through which, clogged, 
coated, and overshadowed by his umbrella, stepped forth 
the Englishman. Just before the door stood a dirt-cart, 
to which were harnessed two wet and disconsolate-looking 
horses. Some men, dressed in tarpaulin clothes, were 
shovelling the mud into their cart, where it floated, a stag- 
nant pool. Hard by was a coal-waggon, with its attendant 
colliers, engaged in carrying the fuel in bags to a poulterer's 
opposite. The rain had made some impression upon their 
blackened faces, leaving them streaked in the same unseemly 
way as the statues on the front of St. Paul's, and giving a 
singular and demoniac expression to their countenances and 
glaring eyes. There were quantities of women clattering 
over the pavements in iron clogs, and not a few thieves 
and adventurers in greasy black coats, from which the rain 
turned without effect, save where a rent left the skin visible. 

The spectacle without was gloomy enough ; the coffee- 
room was still and solemn as some death-bed scene, and 
the newspapers served only to carry out the one impression 
of despair which was stamped on everything. One of the 
first paragraphs that struck my eye was a list of suicides. 
There were no fewer than three, in which the weapon had 
been a razor; and two of the self-murderers were women. 
Having remained in the coffee-room some hours, gazing in 



NOVEMBER IN LONDON. 



381 



utter hopelessness in the fire, — for my own room proving 
to smoke badly, I had been obliged to discontinue the fire 
there, — I a t length grew weary, and determined to go out 
in search of distraction, and in the hope of killing a little 
time. So, enveloping myself in my cloak, I went forth and 
strolled along the colonnade. 

Every thing wore an air of inexpressible gloom. The 
houses of unpainted brick were half hidden at their topmost 
stories by the canopy of smoke, fog, and rain which over- 
hung the scene. It did not rain with that earnestness and 
energy common in our climate, which conveys the idea of 
a thing to be done, as a matter of business, and despatched 
with business-like rapidity, but in a deliberate, cold-blooded 
way, as if it might continue on thus for ever, without ex- 
hausting its capacities to curse and to annoy. An eternal 
dripping fell from every object; and the Royal Perambulat- 
ing Advertiser, which happened to pass like a moving house, 
stuck round with newly-printed placards, shed big inky tears, 
and seemed about to dissolve with grief. The enormous 
waggons, piled high with merchandize, were covered with 
huge tarpaulins, and the horses that drew them, as well as 
the drivers, were decked in garments of the same gloomy 
and desperate-looking material. Every man, except myself, 
was the bearer of an umbrella. The women, too, dashed 
through the mud with a courage above their sex; holding 
in one hand the umbrella, in the other their shortened gar- 
ments, they strode fearlessly on, transferring the mud from 
one leg to the other, until all was blackness. 

Nor was it permitted to rest satisfied with such a share of 
mud as came within the compass of one's own gleanings, 
aided by such little acquisitions as were to be received from 
the tread of others. The coaches and cabs, rushingthrough 
the black rivers with which each street ran down, scattered 
it from their wheels like rays from so many miry suns, 

15 * 



NOVEMBER IN LONDON. 



whose business it was lo give out mud and misery, instead 
of vivifying heat and light. The ruffianly drivers of these 
seemed to have a thorough contempt for all pedestrians; 
and instead of admiring them for the courage and hardi- 
hood with which they trudged on, sought purposely to assist 
in draggling them, with a view to discourage the inelegant 
practice of walking. There was a strange confusion of sub- 
stances. Every thing seemed to lose its identity, dissolve, 
and become mingled together ; the atmosphere was a mix- 
ture of rain, smoke, exhalations, and mud, set in motion by 
so many wheels; the macadamized streets, mixed into a 
sickening decoction, formed vast quagmires, dead and de- 
spondent seas, in which one would expect to flounder, and 
sink, and expire, ignobly suffocated, with the prospect of 
being shovelled into a scrapings-cart, and there terminating 
one's career " unwept, unhonoured, and unsung." 

To walk in the mud is a bad thing at any rate; and when 
one is wholly unaccustomed to it, it becomes awful indeed. 
It creates a feeling of melancholy dissatisfaction, not unlike 
what a hitherto honourable man might feel the. first time 
that misfortune, the pressure of circumstances, and his own 
weakness, had led him to humble himself to the commission 
of a mean action. Thus reasoning, I ploughed my way 
through it like the rest. From having seen the carriages 
keep to the left in my drive from Gravesend, I fancied that 
the rule must be the same for footmen. But I got on very 
badly with it. At each instant I was justled and knocked 
out of my course ; and a great Welsh milk-woman, with 
red face, fat cheeks, and a figure running out everywhere 
into redundancies, as I was feasting my eyes on thespectacle 
of such prodigal charms, well-nigh stove a hole through my 
shoulder with the sharp corner of her milk-yoke. The 
gallantry which would not expire under so unkind a cut 
must be glowing indeed. 



NOVEMBER IN LONDON. 



229 



Misfortunes never come singly. I was traversing the 
open space leading to Charing Cross; just behind me came 
a female vender of old joints and broken meat, with her 
merchandize in a wheelbarrow. I stopped a moment to 
gaze at the lion over the Duke of Northumberland's palace* 
which, in the misty atmosphere, loomed singularly, and 
stood forth in strong relief, with a strange air of reality. 
The wheel-barrow struck against my heel, making me 
step quickly a-head, stooping at the same time from the 
pain. This brought my cloak on the ground ; and the wheel- 
barrow continuing to pursue me, fairly took me prisoner. 
The little dog harnessed beneath the barrow, though shel- 
tered in some sort from the weather, was yet wet, soiled, 
and looking in all respects uncomfortable, and impatient to 
finish the day's work and get home. He struggled hard, 
barked and snarled at my heels, and seemed indisposed to 
recede. The woman, seeing that there was no progress to 
be made in that direction with such an obstacle in the way, 
moderated the ardour of her canine auxiliary, drew back 
her barrow, and released me, following her course, not how- 
ever without a slight bestowal of Billingsgate, of which she 
shot off a broadside as she ranged past me. 

Henceforth my fears were only for wheel-barrows. I 
looked round, saw none, and was safe. I turned again to 
gaze at the lion, when I was aroused by a rush of wheels 
and a shout. Two omnibuses were descending the hill, 
side by side, and at a rattling pace; a flight of inferior ve- 
hicles hovered on their flanks, and it was quite evident that 
I was likely to be hemmed in. Turning to escape in the 
opposite direction, I saw that there too I was equally cut 
off. There was a brewer's cart, drawn by enormous horses, 
which was close upon me, and a magnificent equipage the 
panels of which were completely , covered with armorial 
bearings; presently the blockade was rendered complete by 



230 



NOVEMBER IN LONDON. 



a swift cab coming directly at me, whose wo-begone horse 
was trotting fiercely, as if it were his last race, and he had 
leave to die and escape from all his troubles when he had 
won it. How to escape, and where to go, was now the 
question. I looked in vain in search of any outlet, and came 
to the conclusion that there was nothing left for me but to 
choose my death. 

To die by an omnibus or^a cab were to die ingloriously : 
the newspapers could have told a story of the sort any day 
the last week. It would be far more honourable to be 
trampled into the mud by the aristocratic heels of the pranc- 
ing steeds, which were already close upon me. As a last 
and only chance, I determined, upon philosophic principles, 
to trust to the magnanimity of the largest animal I could see. 
I swung myself under the neck of the brewer's horse, which 
was too noble to step on me; encouraged by this reception, 
I kept beside his head, making a tower of strength of him, 
and thus I managed to reach an open place and escape to 
the side- walk alive. It was reasonable enough that I should 
recollect the proud equipage which had been so near crush- 
ing me. I saw it afterward in Hyde Park on a Sunday, 
and it was pointed out to me as belonging to a noted brew- 
er; so that, after all, my choice of deaths had not been so 
various as I imagined. 

I slunk home, nervous, covered with mud, and miserable, 
feeling very much as a dog might be supposed to do, which 
being badly hung by some malicious urchins, contrives to 
worry himself loose, and escapes home with the rope about 
his neck, and looking very dejected. I determined, if I 
lived to see another day, that I would become, what I 
never yet had been, the possessor of an umbrella, and sub- 
stitute an upper benjamin for the embarrassing folds of my 
Spanish capa. In my professional pursuits, the use of an 
umbrella was preposterous; and in the climate of my own 



ROBERT OWEN. >M 

country it rains so seldom, that to a man of leisure, having 
no business avocations to call him inauspiciously into the 
open air, the umbrella is also a useless and disagreeable en- 
cumbrance. But in England the case is otherwise; and a 
man without an umbrella is as incomplete as a man with- 
out a nose. 

Having seen in a morning paper an advertisement of 
Robert Owen, convoking a meeting that day for the pur- 
pose of taking into consideration the condition of the work- 
ing classes,, and reducing the length of the working-day to 
six hours, for which full wages were to be given, I deter- 
mined to drive to the place of meeting, which was the Na- 
tional Equitable Labour Exchange. This is an establish- 
ment which had its origin in the imagination of Mr. Owen ; 
the object of it being to enable the producer of any article 
— a pair of shoes for instance — to exchange it for some 
other article which he does not produce, but wants for his 
own use; by this means relieving the workman from the 
tyranny of the master, and securing him a fair participation 
in the fruits of his own labour. If he do not want to take 
any article in return for what he deposits, he receives its 
value in bills of the association, which I imagine are not 
very current beyond its own walls. 

At the entrance to the hall, I found a collection of books 
for sale, and, on turning to look at their titles, I found that 
instead of works on political or domestic economy, and 
calculated to promote industry and thrift, such, for instance 
as the admirable writings of Dr. Franklin, which I look 
upon as containing the most wholesome nutriment that can 
be offered to the minds of the poor, they were entirely of 
an atheistical character, and directed against the Christian 
religion; among them, Paine's Age of Reason occupied a 
conspicuous place; and there were many tracts of Mr. 
Owen, and other modern imitators of that arch apostle of 



ROBERT OWEN. 



infidelity. If I were already indisposed to believe in 
the feasibility of Mr. Owen's system, this doubt was not a 
little increased by finding myself met, at the very threshold, 
by that which went to remove the comforts, the consola- 
tions, and the restraints of a religion which is the poor 
man's best friend. 

The edifice, appropriated to the Labour Exchange during 
the week, and to lectures and anti-religious orgies on the 
Sabbath, was as singular in its construction as in its uses. 
It was of oblong form, having a gallery running completely 
around it, and a skylight roof above. At one extremity 
of the gallery was the place of the speakers, who stand 
against the railing, in sight of those ranged in the galleries, 
on either hand, or in the court below. Here was a table 
with books, round which the reporters of the London 
papers were assembled, to note the proceedings and take 
down the speeches. 

There was an immense crowd of the unwashed already 
assembled; their faces, hands, and bodily conformation 
indicating their peculiar line of labour. Some were in 
their holiday clothes ; others had evidently just escaped 
from their benches, having their aprons twisted up and 
stuck through the drawing- string. The air was redolent 
of gin, beer, leather, and the various commodities with 
which they were respectively conversaut. Their con- 
versation was of trades' unions, initiation of nobs and 
dungs, that is, recusant individuals of their fraternities who 
refused to affiliate. They spoke very angrily of the Times 
newspaper, as being against the working men, and the par- 
tisan of rich persecution. 

I was not a little amused with the conversation of a little 
shoemaker who sat near me. He was very short, owing 
to his legs being out of all proportion to his body, and not 
having been properly developed, from the sedentary nature 



KOBEKT OWEN. 



2X1 



of his occupation, and that of his ancestors through many 
generations. He had on a white corded jacket, rather 
darkened by his trade, breeches, and an imperfectly-iilled 
pair of worsted stockings. He was pock-marked, and a 
scald, which had rendered him blear-eyed, and scarified 
one side of his face, showed how neglected had been his 
childhood, and added to.the general expression of vulgarity, 
recklessness, and vice which was stamped upon his coun- 
tenance. To complete the catalogue of his personal 
charms, there was about him a very unpleasant ilavour of 
shoemakers' wax and leather, which made him less en- 
durable even than the highly-perfumed inmate of the om- 
nibus. His speech, which he presently addressed to a 
neighbouring friend, was comformable. " I say, Bill, if 
we works four hours a day, I don't see why it ar'n't is much 
is they as her right to expect. We had a famous meetin 
last night ; we filiated up to ninety. If we could unite with 
the tailors, we d be main powerful ; but the darn stitchlouses 
are too ristocratic ; they're worse, all hollow, nor the Ouse 
o' Lords. They think as they're better nor hus; and un- 
dertakes to turn their noses up at a cobbler." 

Here Mr. Owen made his appearance, and was received 
with unbounded applause ; my worthy little cobbling orator 
being among the most vociferous. He was a rather tall, 
big-boned man,well enough dressed, but somewhat slouching 
in his appearance. His face was singularly ill-formed; 
the forehead receding very suddenly, and the whole contour 
of the head indicating a deficiency of both animal and mo- 
ral qualities. His chin was sharp and protruding; and the 
style, as well as the expression, of his face reminded me 
most strikingly of an unusually-ugly monkey, which I had 
seen the day before in the Zoological Garden. His arms 
were piled with bundles of pamphlets, to which he was 
about to refer, many of them written by himself, and a 



234 



ROBERT OWEN. 



huge folio report of a committee of the House of Commons 
on the condition of the working classes. I had heard of 
the venerable appearance of the sage and the philanthro- 
pist of Lanark ; but as he now entered the room, groaning 
under this immense weight of learning, and filled with 
self-complacency, and tickled at the reception which the 
tatterdemalions gave him, that caused him to grin and show 
his teeth most absurdly, he presented a most ludicrous 
spectacle. 

His style of eloquence was not of a very ambitious kind. 
It consisted of all the startling truisms which have been 
uttered at various times on the same subject by cleverer men 
than Mr. Owen, and which he now strung together with 
as little art as might be, — his language being vulgar and 
slovenly, and his pronunciation bad. When he fancied he 
had made a good hit, he would stop for applause; and 
when it came, grin back a responsive recognition. Some- 
times there seemed to be a difference of opinion between 
him and his audience as to the expediency of cheering. 
Once, when a few cried " Hear!" one near me hissed, as if 
to stop the interruption; another beside him corrected him 
by saying, " Don't hiss, he is waiting for it." I think this 
anecdote decidedly illustrative of the man ; and am con- 
vinced, from what I saw of him, not having previously 
heard this foible ascribed to him, that an overweening vanity 
is at the bottom of all his extravagances, and that, not 
being capable of attracting the attention of men of sense 
and education, he is content to surround himself with the 
vulgar rabble, and be, at an easy rate, a great man among 
them, receiving their applause in return for his stupid 
ravings. 

In the course of his address he was saying, what is indeed 
very true, that the power was all wielded by the rich in Eng- 
land, " But," he continued, u we will take it away from 



ROBERT OWEN 



them." Here he was interrupted by overpowering ap- 
plause. When he could be heard, he added, " but peace- 
ably, not forcibly. 1 ' This qualifying sentiment was not so 
well received. I noticed, however, one starved, thin-legged 
conspirator, apparently wholly unfitted for the stern arbi- 
tration of club-law, who seemed mightily to approve of the 
peaceful mode of redress, and the march-of-mind system, 
for he cried "Hear! hear!" at the top of his squeaking 
voice. When Owen at length took up the great parlia- 
mentary folio, and began to relate, with a most complacent 
smirk, how he and the member for Oldham, one Mr. Fiel- 
den, had been closeted together three days, at the residence 
of the said member in the country, studying the contents 
of this folio, I came away, dreading the possibility of his 
inflicting a synopsis, which, in his hands, would have been 
so much more cruel than the book itself. 

I was happy, on getting into the open air, to find that my 
pockets had not been levied on, so that there was nothing 
to interfere with my meditations concerning the cosmopolite 
philanthropist. If he be, indeed, the friend of the labour- 
ing people, and not wholly the slave of his own vanity, it is 
yet certain that he has done them no good. As a general 
rule, I think it may be admitted, that the man who has mis- 
managed his own affairs is not fit to charge himself with 
those of other people. This individual has failed notori- 
ously in all his undertakings. Having succeeded by marriage 
to the property of a valuable and most flourishing manu- 
facturing establishment in Scotland, he has contrived to 
squander the patrimony of his children, and, deprived of 
their birthright, their home, and, haply, even their religion, 
sent them forth to endure every privation in the uncivilized 
wilds of his western Utopia, while he has adopted, as the 
object of his affection and paternal solicitude, the filthier 
million of this overgrown metropolis. Still we must admit 



23G 



ROBERT OWEN 



— such sacrifices as these irresistibly convey the idea — thai; 
he is botli benevolent and philanthropic, though on too large 
a scale to be appreciated by every one. I must claim to 
be among the number of the incredulous; and I must con- 
fess that a benevolent and philanthropic fool always seems 
more dangerous to me than a roguish one. A roguish fool 
may steal, and allow himself to be quickly caught and shut 
up; but the other, being left at large, may lead astray others 
yet simpler than himself, and, actuated perhaps by a ridi- 
culous vanity, get credit for good qualities which he does 
not possess, interfering with the labours of industry, and 
creating a real evil without any alternative of good. 

There can be no doubt, indeed, that the poor are insuf- 
ficiently paid in England. That in the presence of a deve- 
lopment, far exceeding whatever the world has hitherto 
seen, the profits of it are concentrated in the hands of a 
few, while they who mainly contribute to it by their labour 
are left to languish in destitution of what mere animal wants 
require. Yet one hears of nothing but the property of the 
country, and the necessity of having it represented, and 
giving it proper influence, at the very time when it is re- 
gulating and governing exclusively for its own interests, 
and crushing the many with a despotism unknown in coun- 
tries which are stigmatized as despotic, and especially so 
stigmatized by Englishmen — a despotism which starves. 
While property has for its mercenary champions the genius 
and learning of the country, the claims of labour are un- 
represented and unrestrained; its cause, instead of being 
supported by the high, the gifted, the intelligent of the 
land, is abandoned to the advocacy of rogues like Cobbett> 
and idiots such as Owen. 



CHAPTE.R XX. 



ISLINGTON. 

Liston— Remove to Islington — Scenes from Window — Suburban Rambles 
-^-Habits of Retired Citizens— Life of Seclusion— Subjects for Emi- 
gration. 

In the evening of the day I had attended 31r. Owen's ex- 
hibition, I went to see a much better actor at Madame Ves- 
tris's theatre, being no other than Liston. Though I found 
him evidently in the decline of his health and powers, yet 
I was not at all disappointed in the high expectations I had 
formed of him. He is of moderate height, with a rather 
dropsical-looking body, and the air of a man sinking under 
dissipation. He appeared, indeed, to be half drunk. It 
was in his part, however, to be so; and he had either made 
a sacrifice to his profession, in order to give effect to the 
piece, or else it was another proof of his excellent acting. 
There were, indeed, an irresistible drollery and perfect air 
of nature about him. 

His acting appeared to me as Tal ma's did, — so easv that 
any one might have done it without effort. This is, how- 
ever, in efforts of every sort, one of the greatest proofs of 
merit. The company of this theatre struck me as being 
much the best I had seen in London; there were a perfec- 



•23H 



ISLINGTON. 



tion, indeed, and unity in the company, and in the general 
effect of the acting, which not a little reminded me of the 
minor theatres of Paris. As for Liston, though the source 
of so much and such immoderate mirth to others, he is said 
to be of a very melancholy temperament himself, and only 
to be at all happy and humorous when treading the stage. 
His appearance sufficiently justifies this opinion; and his 
moody, wo-begone physiognomy gives effect to his drollery, 
and to the oddly-uttered jokes, at which he only does not 
laugh. 

Though I had been beguiled of my ennui, and greatly 
amused by Liston, I retired, when the play was over, to my 
lodgings, as sad as himself. I had brought with me to Lon- 
don a chronic weakness of the eyes, contracted by winter 
cruising in the Mediterranean, which, instead of improving 
there, increased from day to day, prevented me from escap- 
ing from the weariness of unoccupied time by reading, and 
converted the amusement of the theatre, which alone re- 
mained for my evenings, into a means of adding to my tor- 
ture. 

I was the bearer of abundant letters; but I knew that 
most of those to whom they were addressed were absent 
from town; and, in the little courage which I felt to en- 
counter perfect strangers, I was willing to fancy that they 
were all so, and failed altogether to inquire. If the reader 
feel any sympathy for me, I may as well relieve him, by 
jumping to the conclusion of it, and telling him how, a 
year later than the period of which I write, I was entirely 
cured of my malady by Mr. Alexander, the celebrated Lon- 
don oculist, who, after hearing a statement of my case, and 
after a moment's inspection, sent me away with a prescrip- 
tion, which, at the end of a few months, restored me to the 
complete use of the most valuable sense with which Divi- 
nity has endowed us, and left me with a feeling of personal 



ISLINGTON. 



gratitude to the skilful operator himself that will not easily 
be effaced. I do not mention tins out of any pleasure which 
I take in relating what only concerns me individually, but 
because the reader might not otherwise be able to compre- 
hend the peculiarity of my situation, and the circumstances, 
personal to myself, which made England so much sadder 
to me on this, my first visit, than it usually is to my country- 
men, and which, at the end of a very few weeks, drove me 
from it in search of more congenial scenes. With the use 
of my eyes, and amusing books to read, I could have passed 
a winter not merely in London, but in Lapland. 

My eyes had become so much irritated since my arrival 
in London, from the prevalence of smoke, and perhaps also 
from too frequent attendance at the theatre, that I began to 
feel the necessity of changing my mode of life forthwith. 
I chanced to have living in Islington an esteemed relative, 
who had been the friend and Mentor of my boyish days. 
Being in delicate health, and finding, in the course of much 
journeying, that the climate of England agreed with him 
better than any other, which is, in fact, a very common 
remark among Americans, he had retired to this suburb 
of London to pass his days peacefully among his books. 
This being in a high situation, to the north of the town, 
with an open country on the side from which the wind 
usually blows, is less canopied with smoke than any other 
quarter. My friend fancied, on this account, that it would 
be more suitable to me until my eyes should restore them- 
selves, and prevailed upon me to accompany him to his 
house. Here I passed a few days most agreeably, as well 
as beneficially to my sight ; eschewing theatres, listening to 
the perusal of a newspaper, or of some entertaining book, 
instead of endeavouring to read myself, dozing quietly on a 
sofa wheeled to the fire, or engaging in delightful conver- 
sation about the half-forgotten events of other times. 



•210 



ISLINGTON. 



Occasionally, w hen the weather was fine, and the w ind 
not high, which w as a combination of somewhat rare oc- 
currence, we took a walk to the neighbouring villages of 
Highgate or Holloway. In* this last place are some beauti- 
fully-designed almshouses, originally founded by the famous 
Whittington, and standing near the spot where, having 
paused on his return to his native county, in despair of 
finding employment in London, of which he had come in 
search, he heard the merry chime of St. Mary's bells, and 
fancied he could trace out the encouraging sounds, "Turn 
again, Whittington — twice Lord Mayor of London!" He 
took heart, turned back, and his name afterward mingled 
honourably in the annals of the city. 

These villages of Highgate and Holloway will soon be- 
come incorporated, like Islington, with the all-absorbing 
metropolis. It is in this way that the increase of the popu- 
lation of London has been so extraordinary in late years, 
and not entirely by positive development and augmentation. 
London was, and still is, surrounded by many considerable 
towns. By the mutual growth of it and of them, they 
gradually run into each other, — the towns or villages losing 
their distinctive limits and character, and being counted 
thenceforth part of London, to whose population their own 
is thus suddenly added. 

When, on the contrary, as was more common, the wind 
blew high, the sky lowered, and, intermixed with wind and 
smoke, came down to hang its dark pall low over every 
object, investing all things with its gloom, and tinging 
whatever it touched with the hues of despondency, and 
when, moreover, the rain paltered relentlessly, then, as an 
only resource, I reclined in dreamy torpor and forgetful- 
ness, lost in melancholy musings, or gazing the live- long 
day half unconsciously from the window at the frequent 
omnibuses, — the Sun — oh, sad misnomer! what but his ab- 



ISLINGTON 



141 



sence could have called to mind the joyous god of day ! — 
the Times — the Champion — meaning, doubtless, Dutch 
Sam, or the undaunted Jem Ward of pugilistic memory. 
These rushed by with the merry sound of well-blown bugles, 
the only notes of cheerfulness which came encouragingly 
on the ear. Countless in number, too, were the stage- 
coaches that whirled by, conveying daily their thousands of 
passengers to Liverpool, Manchester, and all the counties 
of the north. What toppling masses of trunks, baskets, 
and bandboxes were there suspended behind, at the sides, 
and piled high overall! And what a cargo, too, of live 
lumber interspersed among these, — men, dogs, parrots, 
and women! How strangely muffled in water-proof 
M'Intoshes, cloaks, shawls, and comforters, and yet how 
thoroughly soaked were the biped voyagers! Ho*w the 
horses reeked, and how instinct was everything with mud 
and misery. 

In these my rambles over Islington and its pretty neigh- 
bourhood, I made some remarks for myself, and was as- 
sisted to others by the maturer observation of my friend, 
concerning the habits and manners of the inhabitants of 
this region, which excited my curiosity and tended to amuse 
me. It seems that it is inhabited almost entirely by retired 
tradespeople, a general phrase, which includes almost 
every one in this country below the dignity of a gentleman, 
or man living without occupation on his means, and on the 
labours of his ancestors. People engaged in business here 
have a sufficiently general practice, which it were well that 
we imitated in America, of realizing their property the 
moment they have secured a competence, and, investing it 
in some safe and convenient w T ay, so as to yield them a mo- 
derate interest, retiring either ^ the country or to some 
suburban situation, where they may compass the luxury of 
a garden-spot, there to pass the evening of their days in 

1G 



242 



ISLINGTON. 



tranquillity, fn the neighbourhood of Islington there are 
many pretty and modest villas thus inhabited, and in the 
town itself frequent ranges of dwellings, called places or 
terraces, which are constructed on a uniform design, fre- 
quently standing back from the road, and having verandas 
in front, with a common garden laid out for the resort of 
the inmates. These houses, though mostly unpainted and 
of a gloomy hue without, gave evidence within of great 
neatness and comfort. The windows were tastefully cur- 
tained, having blinds to obstruct the gaze of passers in the 
street, or else the same effect more tastefully produced bv 
means of shrubs and flowers, amid which hung the frequent 
prison-house of lark or canary. 

Some of these retired citizens keep lumbering carriages, 
covered with heavy armorial bearings. Here there are no 
equipages with simple ciphers, or without arms of some 
sort, which are generally largely and glaringly painted, 
and conspicuous in the inverse ratio of the established dig- 
nity of the aspirant. One of the earliest uses that is made 
of wealth is to pay a handsome fee to a herald, for the con- 
trivance of an elegant coat of arms. 

There is one thing, however, in which they evince more 
sense than we do, that is, in never setting up a coach until 
their fortune entitles them to do so. Each graduates his 
expenses nicely to his means; if they do not justify the ex- 
travagance of a pair, he contents himself with an enormous 
fly, a species of close carriage, drawn by one horse, and of 
which two horses would stand in awe over our rugged 
pavements. Others rejoice in the possession of a huge 
phaeton, capable of containing the entire household, which 
is drawn by a single family horse, a meek-spirited jade, 
which jogs along with a mill-horse perseverance — an air 
of motiveless and heartless dulness, in happy accordance 
with the heavy, stupid looks of the group which he drags 



ISLINGTON. 



249 



after him. Here and there antiquated cobs, which in their 
younger days had carried their impatient masters to the 
scene of money-making in a twinkling, now crept over the 
ground calmly, contrasting singularly with the rapid move- 
ments of the young traders, the sons probably of the former 
in many instances, who, starting in life on their own ac- 
count, seemed to be full of motive, and as greedy to gain 
time as the others were anxious to consume it. 

Those, indeed, who had achieved the competence which 
had been the cherished object of their hopes, seemed to be 
far more miserable than those who were in pursuit of it. 
The retired trader was ever ready to pull up his equally 
willing steed, which had learned, by long practice, to adapt 
itself to the habits of its master, to talk, with some equally 
time-ridden worthy, of trade and the stocks. Others 
lounged at the corners, or before their doors, speaking in 
monosyllabes or speaking not at all, and gazing with vacant 
and envious stare upon the passing whirl of the busier po- 
pulation. It was difficult, indeed, to imagine people more 
evidently at loss and out of tune. The retirement and 
competence which they had sighed for through the earlier 
years of a busy life, seemed to have become, by robbing 
them of their occupation, the source of their misery. 

Perhaps the morning, with its freshness of sensations, 
physical and moral, agreeably ministered to by breakfast, 
and the newspaper, which circulated from house to house at 
the cheap rate of a shilling the week, was the season in their 
existence freest from corroding ennui, and coming nearest 
to a negative something that might be called happiness. 
The long interval to dinner and the joint, though broken 
by luncheon and a walk, perchance made in unconscious 
habit to the crowded region of the City, or in bad weather 
passed in vacant gaze from the window, was yet, doubt- 
less, to thtm, one of awful duration. Dinner was succeeded 

la* 



214 



ISLINGTON. 



by another fatal pause, until the timely tea resisted in good 
season the growing drowsiness. The rubber of whist, eked 
out by dummie, if the smallness of the family circle made 
his assistance indispensable, gave the mercy-stroke to the 
day, which finished with them as it began, with a war 
against time, implacably carried on. Such, as far as I could 
learn or observe for myself, is the daily picture of the life 
of the retired citizen of London. 

Where there is social intercourse, with familiar and un- 
ceremonious visits, the stranger can at once discover it in 
a passing glance. Here, from day to day, and through the 
livelong night, the most watchful eye could detect no traces 
of congregation. Here were no rush of carriages, no clang 
of knockers, no slamming doors, no lively hum of chatter- 
mg voices, no spirit-stirring violin. The musical entertain- 
ments of the neighbourhood were eonfined to an occasional 
"Rule Britannia," "God save the King," " Buy a Broom," 
or "Yankee Doodle," dolorously ground forth by monkey- 
aided Savoyards from hand-organ or hurdy-gurdy. 

Occasionally, as the patriotic bosom of gouty bachelor 
orshirvelled old maid was touched by the strains which 
have power to enkindle enthusiasm even in the most torpid 
English feelings, a window might be seen to open at either 
side of the street, and a swollen or skin-dried hand emerge 
to throw a penny's worth of gratification to the industrious 
grinder. Once, when I saw such a coincidence, I could not 
help thinking that, with this identity of tastes, had the 
habits of society and the existence of social intercourse 
favoured the coming together of this sympathetic pair, 
they might in earlier years have rushed into each other's 
arms, and, joining their means and their establishments, 
furnished each other with comfort and joy. When the 
hurdy-gurdy ceased to charm, a piano might be heard 
responding, in well-struck measure, with "Paddy Carey,' 



ISLINGTON. 



24j 



or " All the blue bonnets are over the border." Other 
sounds of joy there were none, and stillness and a placid 
calm reigned here for ever. 

But perhaps it would be wrong to say that the whole 
year revolves for them in joyless and unbroken monotony. 
One should at least except the annual visit to the theatre, 
to see the King and Queen at the play, when is presented 
the singular spectacle of an immense house, crowded with 
living masses from pit to gallery, with two people looking 
at the entertainment, and all the rest looking at them. It 
is on this occasion, more than any other, that they nourish 
that sentiment of loyalty which is natural to every English 
bosom, and which, evincing itself in love and veneration to 
one individual, is yet, though perhaps unknown to him 
who feels it, only a concentration of patriotism, an ardent 
love of country, fixing itself on the man who represents its 
sovereignty, and who is, as it were, only England itself 
personified. When an Englishman listens with rapture to 
that noble anthem, " God save the King," it is not attach- 
ment to a bloated profligate, such as George IV., that ani- 
mates and lifts him to the clouds, but rather the thought of 
England, with her greatness and her triumphs, which kin- 
dles the glow at his heart. 

It is on occasions such as these, then, that the r eti red 
citizen indulges in an enthusiasm which is a contradiction 
to the whole tenour of his daily life. In a country where 
castes and classes of society occupy more of men's thoughts, 
and modify in a greater degree their manners, than in any 
other, he feels himself elevated into unwonted dignity and 
self-estimation at finding himself admitted to sit at the same 
entertainment, and, as it were, to feel towards a real and 
live king that sense of equality which, though habitually 
extinguished within him, is yet the most ardent of man's 
aspirations. Here, too, he is wound up to a pitch of ecstasy 



210 



ISLINGTON 



the most grandly ludicrous that can be conceived, at the 
spectacle of a queen drinking a cup of tea just like a com- 
mon person. 

This is the citizens' jubilee, — this their annual holyday, 
— purchased by the endurance of a year made up of mo- 
notonous days, succeeded by nights yet more monotonous. 
They would die, as they doubtless often do, of apathy, 
were it not for the abiding excitement kept alive by the 
perpetual dread of being robbed and murdered, and the in- 
terest derived from their nightly precautions against such a 
consummation; from bolting and chaining the doors, seeing 
the window-bells set in a condition to sound should a thief 
attempt to break in and steal, and taking good care that 
the rattle is in readiness by the bedside, to spring suddenly, 
if necessary, at the window, and bring the assistance of the 
watch. Such a life must necessarily produce singular and 
unbounded eccentricity of character, and would, if studied, 
furnish the oddest and most varied subjects to the drama- 
tist. It begets, in many cases, disease of both mind and 
body, inducing every species of hypochondria, and lead- 
ing to the swallowing of the thousand pills and philtres 
which are the prevailing taste of the land, until at length 
the fear of dying drives them to self-slaughter. 

It has often been said that a great city is a great solitude. 
Of none is this so entirely true as of London ; for the dread 
of intercourse, and the fear of contamination, must act 
either upwards or downwards in the case of every one, 
where the grades and classes are as numerous as the indi- 
viduals, each of whom comes armed to the conflict with his 
separate and peculiar pretensions. The evils that result 
from this life of isolation are unbounded. It must not only 
be productive of much misery, but of vice also. The young 
women, returning from the boarding-school with such 
lessons of virtue as they may have learned there, pass their 



ISLINGTON 



•217 



lime in a corroding solitude, the prey of that ill-nature 
which develops itself in families that are strangers to the 
checks of social intercourse and observation. Meantime 
they continue their daily walks to the nearest circulating 
library, and come home charged with novels and romances, 
which, instead of strengthening and giving a healthy tone 
to the mind, fill it with artificial notions and preposterous 
views of life, which there is no real observation of the 
world to disprove and counteract, — thus delivering it up to 
false and fanciful day-dreams and unreal reveries. With 
little opportunity, in the well-nigh total absence of social 
intercourse, of forming a virtuous and well-judged attach- 
ment, they must be content, in general, to take such 
husbands as Providence may send them ; and without the 
enlightening and guiding advantage of public opinion, 
which in society assigns to each pretender his proper 
position, must be content to choose at hazard, with the 
obvious risk of falling into the hands of adventurers and 
sharpers. 

Hence the frequency of those runaway matches, which, 
contracted in opposition to the will of parents, discreet 
to choose and sedulous of the happiness of a daughter, al- 
most invariably become the prelude to a life of misery and 
wretchedness. Hence, too, in constitutions where the 
yearning for matrimony is ungovernably fervid, the dispo- 
sition to fall in love, where there is a positive necessity to 
fall in love with somebody, with some comely and well-fed 
servant, be he butler, groom, or coachman, and the de- 
plorable frequency of preposterous misalliances, and often 
of something worse. The liberty of manners which here 
permits the solitary and unwatched rambles of females of a 
tender age, furnishes facility for vice which is not always 
neglected. Moreover, where there is no social intercourse, 
there can be nothing of that social restraint, and of public 



248 



ISLINGTON. 



opinion omnipotently acting upon all within its reach. I 
do not know that the case is any better in instances where 
all these dangers are triumphantly avoided, and solitary 
females, surviving their parents and all who were near to 
them, grow old in unsullied maidenhood, drying up and 
withering, mere useless and unproductive vines and barren 
fig-trees. 

Many such victims of the want of social intercourse and 
intermixture were to be found in Islington. Unfortunate 
spinsters, whose minds were crowded with a thousand 
corroding cares, and assailed each night by groundless 
terrors of robbery and violence. For the most part they 
seemed to he devoted to religion, going regularly, tippeted 
and muffed, with their prayer-books, whenever the bells of 
St. Mary's chimed for prayers or sermon. To console 
themselves for their carnal bereavement, they seemed, one 
and all, to have made themselves, as the nuns in Spain say, 
esposas de Christo. As they could not, however, pray 
all the time, they contrived to amuse themselves with se- 
veral pets, such as singing-birds, cats, dogs, and parrots. 
One of them, opposite us, passed much of her time at the 
window, watching for the arrival of the cats'-meat man, 
and stroking a huge tabby. She seemed to find much 
comfort in this; yet, after all, a cat is an insufficient substi- 
tute for a husband. "Women," says the learned Dr. 
Lieber, in illustrating the bad consequences of the frequent 
and prolonged mourning in use in America, as it tends 
to keep our young ladies out of society, which he looks 
upon as a species of matrimonial market, — "Women," 
says the learned cyclopaedist, "are born to be married." 
Agreeing with him, as I do most perfectly, it is on this 
ground that I object entirely to this life of separation, and 
the whole system of retired citizenship in Islington, prayer- 
books and tabby cats included. 



ISLINGTON. 



Of all the various classes of people in England, these 
retired citizens are they who would gain most by emigration 
to America. Any of those who live obscurely and humbly 
in Islington, might lead a life of elegance and luxury on 
the noble banks of the Hudson. There, in a healthful 
climate, strangers to all noxious exhalations, and in the 
presence of whatever is beautiful or grand in natural 
scenery, one of these men might, for the sum of five 
thousand pounds, become possessor of an estate of three 
or four hundred acres, capable, by tolerable cultivation, 
of rendering an interest of six or eight per cent, upon the 
purchase-money. 

Fixing upon one of the thousand unimproved sites that 
are scattered up and down the lordly stream, he might 
build from marble or granite, quarried on the river itself, 
such a villa as he pleased. Instead of planting for the 
benefit of his descendants, he might cut down and fashion 
to his mind the dense groves of oak, sycamore, maple, 
locust, hemlock, and hickory, as they have been tastefully 
intermingled by the hand of nature ; and might indulge, 
to his heart's content, in those sweetly rural tastes that 
are so entirely English. Or, if he were indifferent to the 
exercise of the creative power, he might purchase a place 
already habitable, and having a confortable mansion on it, 
and well-improved grounds, capable of yielding at once 
the same interest, for six or seven thousand pounds. 

Here he might live as secluded as in London itself. If 
he had a taste for stocks, he might go to Wall-street, though 
a hundred miles off, in eight hours, and get double the 
interest for his money that he could in London, and on better 
security too, — the security of a solvent government and of 
unexhausted resources. He could always get the Times a 
month old, and might keep on railing against radicalism, 
which here would no longer have power to threaten his 



250 



ISLINGTON 



property, or terrify him with the dread of convulsions to 
come. Here, too, he might indulge for ever in the privilege 
dear to the heart of every middling Englishman, of grum- 
bling at everything he saw, of damning the country he was 
in, and praising the fast-anchored isle he had left behind him. 
He might go on indulging in the most injurious comparisons, 
deploring the insecurity of a country which had no national 
debt to keep it together, and no taxation, no immense 
subsidies to kings, king's brothers, and unnumbered pen- 
sioners, "all, look you, to be spent in the country, which 
you know makes the money circulate, and keeps the work- 
ing-people busy, do you see." He might curse our transpa- 
rent heavens, our deep blue sky, our far-extended vistas, 
with nobly-swelling mountains, remotely distant, yet so 
palpably seen as seemingly to be within the reach of the 
hand, and sigh for congenial mists, and rains, and unbroken 
levels. Here, too, he would lose his sense of inferiority, 
his dear distinction of classes and castes, the pleasure 
which a pariah may feel in licking the dust which a bramin 
has just honoured with his tread, in the admiration of the 
nobly great, in the rapture of being permitted to look full 
in the face a Sir John, or even a My Lord, in a committee - 
room or at a cattle-show, and all the manifold enjoyments 
of toad-eating and of sycophancy. 

But what would be the prospects of his children ? They 
would grow up in a country which offers an unbounded 
field for energy and talent. There he might provide for a 
hundred children as for one, though there be no place or 
office to be begged, and no favours to be asked, save from 
one's own exertions. If the father himself were unfitted 
to associate with the gentlemen of equal means around 
him, unaccustomed as they are to superiors, and haters 
of servile vulgarity, not so his children. By sending them 
from home, and secluding them from his own society, they 



ISLINGTON 



25! 



would grow up with independence and manliness of thought, 
and dignified elevation of character. They would learn to 
speak good English, to feel nobly, and to act accordingly ; 
and finally enter upon life with a sense of independence, 
claiming for itself no distinction, yet conscious of no in- 
feriority, a proud feeling of equality, and a republican 
simplicity of manners, which in England is only the at- 
tribute of one class, and that class the highest. 



CHAPTER XXI. 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON. 

Dart Coach — Scene at Starting — Suburbs — Benevolent Institutions — 
Rural Tastes of Englishmen — Scenes at the Roadside — Fellow-TTa- 
vellers— Their Conversation — Brighton— Church— Albion Hotel. 

I had been a fortnight in London, when a countryman 
of my own, whom I was already prepared to like, and for 
whom I afterward contracted a warm friendship, which I 
still continue to cherish, proposed to me, as a change of 
scene, a short trip to Brighton, in which he offered to ac- 
company me. Having gladly accepted this offer, I joined 
him at his house in Regent's Park, and we went together, 
at the appointed hour, to the coach-office in Oxford-street. 
The coach was the Dart. It was hung very low, on the 
new safety plan, as it is called, the bottom of the body 
being not more than a couple of feet from the ground, and 
the circle of which one would describe an arc in falling, 
in the event of a summerset, being of course proportionably 
small. 

Though the weather was fine, and the drive only of six 
hours, my companion, who knew the climate, decided that 
it would be most safe for us to go inside. This is a dis- 
agreeable alternative, as the interior of the English coaches 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON 



2f,3 



offers very scanty room for Four persons of even ordinary 
size, and, being perfectly closed everywhere, furnishes the 
traveller with barely such imperfect vistas of the country 
he passes through, as may be rapidly caught from a narrow 
window on either side. 

A pair of worn-out horses, driven by a second-rate sort 
of coachman, conveyed us from Oxford-street to the grand 
starling-place, in Piccadilly. Here we took up the rest of 
our passengers and luggage. The make-shift horses and 
coachman were dismissed with ignominy; four active 
grooms led out each a mettled hunter, disabled for the 
chase, yet still full of spirit and energy. The coachman, a 
portly personage, well clad, with muffled neck, well- 
brushed hat, a heavy coat hanging over his arm, and his 
whip held with the air of an adept, and who had, in no 
slight degree, the appearance of having been born for 
something better, stood calmly superintending the labours 
of the hostlers, while the guard, having carefully attended 
to the disposition of the luggage, and of all the various 
packets and parcels to be delivered on the road, or at the 
end of the journey, now ascended to his station at the back 
of the coach, and taking up his bugle, blew forth a sweet 
and animating blast. 

The merry sounds, even more than the favourite spec- 
tacle presented by the starting of a coach, quickly drew 
together a vast crowd of the idle of the neighbour- 
hood, or such as happened to pass that way. There were 
soldiers from the palace, grooms in well-polished suits of 
fustian, proud and disdainful servants in their masters' 
livery, and beggars, who were humble in their own 
Here, too, were eloquent Irishmen offering for sale, in 
words of soft persuasion, the newspapers of the day, the 
map of the road to Brighton, the Comic Annual, and 
quantities of absurdly-ludicrous caricatures. 



254 



DKIVE TO BRIGHTON 



I exchanged a piece of silver for a handful of these. They 
wanted the masterly drawing and extravagant oddity of 
Cruikshank, and the grace, spirit, ingenuity, and gentle- 
manlike observance of good taste and propriety that chara- 
terize the inimitable political sketches of H. B., in which 
the wit and satire of many paragraphs are conveyed far 
more vividly and distinctly to the mind, by a single glance 
of the eye ; yet they had still a certain cleverness of their 
own, and a fund of coarse, broad humour, which is charac- 
teristic of the land. The tatterdemalion crew around us, 
captivated, like the rest, by the soft strains of the musician, 
suspended for a moment their vociferation, and anold groom, 
who was smoking, with his hands in his pockets, beside the 
coach, was so lulled into forgetful ness, that he fairly suf- 
fered his pipe to go out. When the tune was over, however, 
he betrayed no vexation, but turning to his next neighbour 
to light it, said, " Dom it, Bobbie, that be a game chap; he, 
blows like a good un." 

And now the coachman was on his box ; the ribands 
were in his hand and nicely adjusted ; a flirt of these and a 
single crack of the whip set us in motion ; each groom re- 
leasing the horse which he had been holding, remained in 
possession of the blanket, twitched suddenly from the back 
of the bounding animal. Onward we sped to Charing 
Cross, and hence at a rapid rate towards Westminster 
Bridge. As we passed the Horse Guards, where two soldiers 
of the Blues, in casque and cuirass, sat as sentinels, mo- 
tionless, on their coal-black chargers, our guard struck up 
" God save the King." I admire this noble national anthem, 
and I sympathize with the feeling which it awakens in the 
bosom of every honest Englishman, — a feeling, not, as one 
might fancy, of servile attachment to the person of any in- 
dividual, but made up wholly of pride and patriotism, an 
ardent love of country stimulated by the recollection of her 



DHIVE TO BRIGHTON. 253 

Howes, her Collingwoods, and her Nelsons, and whatever 
of greatness and of glory Old England has achieved. 

We made our way without accident, and with admirable 
address, through the thronged thoroughfare, to the Elephant 
and Castle, and so onward, traversing a suburb which pro- 
mised to be interminable. The ranges of houses, ceasing 
occasionally to be continuous, were built in rows and ter- 
races, with attention to architectural effect. These were 
interspersed at frequent intervals with stately and extensive 
edifices, devoted to the uses of charity, and having for object 
the solace and alleviation of some one of the thousand ills 
that flesh is heir to. Many of these had their origin in the 
spirit of association, impelled by a pervading and active hu- 
manity ; more were pointed out to me as having been 
founded by individuals of enormous fortune, the result 
of their own efforts, and of a life of frugal and persevering 
industry. 

It were an odious task to inquire in how many cases 
these noble institutions sprang from the promptings of a 
pure and unsullied benevolence — in how many from the 
vanity of immortalizing a hitherto unhonoured name. Even 
the vanity of being remembered through all ages, as the be- 
nefactor of our fellow-men, is it not in itself, and still more 
so when compared witb the thousand other vanities which 
impel our efforts to live in the recollection of those who are 
to come after us, a fit subject for commendation ? 

At any rate, whatever be the actuating motives to bene- 
volence, in no country is it so abounding as in England. 
Wherever the eye is turned, it rests upon lordly edifices 
consecrated to the alleviation of misery. This is not the 
place to inquire in how great a degree this mass of misery 
to be alleviated may have had its origin in the unequal 
distribution of the fruits of labour, and in a compunctious 
wish for retribution, urging the rich to render back to the 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON. 



poor something of that whereof an exclusive and oppressive 
legislation, acting ever in the interests of property, may 
have robbed them. It is sufficient here to call to mind 
the fact, that there has been only one Howard, and that he 
was an Englishman. 

If there were much to indicate the attention of the rich 
to the comfort of the miserable, there was, of course, more 
to show that they were not unmindful of their own. On 
reaching the more open country, we passed at each instant 
some pretty villa of a retired citizen, the lit abode of a 
happy and contented competence. If there be anything 
that I covet for my countrymen, it is the sweetly rural 
tastes of the children of this land, and their rooted love of 
retirement from the city's din to the seclusion of groves and 
gardens. If, as I believe, the tendency of a life passed 
amid crowds, confusion, the intimate and indiscriminate 
contact with the eager and mammon-seeking throng that 
congregate in cities, and all the manifold horrors that are 
to be found in smoke, dust, noise, omnibuses, and disgust- 
ful surroundings, is to uproot the natural affections and to 
corrupt the heart ; so, on the contrary, do I believe that an 
existence gently gliding away amid the scenes of nature, 
and the calm and tranquil occupation of some rural abode, 
must oppositely and equally contribute to develop whatever 
is generous within us, and to give elevation and purity to 
the sentiments, and dignity to the character. 

It is therefore that I would wish to see cherished among 
us tastes calculated to develop virtues so essentially re- 
publican. And if I were now to seek for generous and 
honourable feelings in my country, it would not be 
among the crowds who congregate in cities about gilded 
liberty caps, to shout their anathemas against the sovereign- 
ty of the people, but rather among our honest and native- 
born yeomanry, at once cultivators and proprietors of the 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON. 



*57 



soil, who constitute the best safeguard of the sacred right a 
of property and of American liberty. 

The country over which we passed was nearly without 
mountains, or anything that rose even to the dignity of a 
hill. Its character of monotony was, however, relieved by 
gentle undulations, along which the road wound mean- 
dering, and by the beautifying effect of art, everywhere 
visible in the effort to produce what was either useful 
or agreeable. The labour of cultivation was everywhere 
carried on with neatness as well as care. The fields were 
all enclosed with hedges, interspersed with trees ; and 
where the plough had been used, the furrows were drawn 
with the nicest exactness. The farmhouses were anti- 
quated stone buildings, with an air of comfort, and some 
show of taste ; flowers were blooming in the windows, 
there were evergreens and shrubbery about the doors, to 
banish the idea of winter, fruit-trees were trained against 
the walls, and the gables were overrun with ivy. The men 
seemed, in general, sturdy and well-grown ; the women 
plump and tidy ; and the children, which were sufficiently 
numerous to show that the injunction to increase and 
multiply was not unheeded in the land, were healthy and 
clean, and full of mischief and cheerfulness. 

The country-houses, of a more modest character, were 
frequent; and the more imposing forms of aristocratic 
mansions were occasionally caught sight of, in the seclu- 
sion of a greater distance from the road, through the leaf- 
less branches of the trees. These were ever surrounded 
with extensive parks, tastefully planted in easy imitation of 
nature, having occasional clumps of trees interspersed over 
the smooth lawn, and close thickets for the preservation of 
game. The trees were by no means various in kind. 
Though collected anc| planted with studious care, there were 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON. 



not, perhaps, one tenth of the varieties that start up spon- 
taneously in cur American forests. The elm occurred 
the most frequently, with a few beach, oak, and stunted 
pines. 

T^hey were, for the most part, knotty, scrubby, and irre- 
gular in their growth, as compared with the tall, graceful, 
columnar, and infinitely-varied forms which delight the eye 
in our forests ; and it seemed to me, from their whole ap- 
pearance, that, in addition to the want of the vivifying nou- 
rishment of the sun, their growth was checked by the incle- 
mency of the weather, and the high winds causing them to 
assume that crooked and knarled form, which is, however, 
valuable for the uses of ship-building. The trees, with the 
exception of a few evergreens, were, of course, destitute of 
leaves; but the grass exhibited a verdure which the season 
would not have permitted with us, and still furnished pas- 
ture to herds of beautiful cattle, and flocks of overgrown 
sheep, which moved with some difficulty under the added 
weight of so much flesh and wool. 

Our road led us through many large towns. Villages 
and smaller collections of population were more rare. 
There were, however, a few of great beauty, having very 
antiquated parish churches, which, from the various and 
blended character of their architecture, might have owed 
their existence, in its present state, to the patchwork con- 
tributions of every succeeding century, from the time of 
the Conquest. 

At one of these places was a venerable village oak, and 
one of the passengers said something about its trunk hav- 
ing been used as a school-room. Though not to compare 
with the patriarchal trees of my own country, when one 
has the good fortune to get far enough from the haunts of 
civilized man to see one of them, or the famous chestnuts 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON 



269 



that flourish on the side of Etna, — such, tor instance, as 
the noted Castagno a cento cavalli, — yet still its dimensions 
were sufficiently respectable to attract admiration. 

The groups that filled the road were sufficiently varied 
and picturesque, and the scene which it presented was 
moving and animated. I was not so fortunate as to see a 
fox-chace, but I had a glimpse, beyond Croydon, at some 
of the consequences of one. We met a number of gentle- 
men returning from what seemed to have been a hard run, 
for their horses were sadly jaded. Many bore marks of 
having been down, both horse and rider : and one luck- 
less wight was as thoroughly drenched and mud-covered 
as if he had been dragged through a dozen horse-ponds. 
This, however, was not likely to tame the energy with 
which the English gentry pursue this manly and animating 
sport ; a bath, a change of apparel, and a good dinner, 
with the adventures of the day, and all its battles fought 
again over his wine, were sure to give heart to the most 
ill-used of these to figure at the succeeding M meet." 

The effect of the gay dress of these huntsmen, the top- 
boots, the white breeches, and, above all, the red coat, as 
seen at the turnings of the road, or emerging from behind 
an intersecting wood, was pleasing, and fraught with ex- 
citement. As we paused at the solitary inns for a moment to 
water the horses, and give time to the coachman to drain 
the foaming tankard which was presented to him, I was 
carried back to the olden time by the quaintness of the 
antiquated signs, in general no longer painted, indeed, in 
these march-of-mind days, when every body can read, but 
written out in full — The Black Horse, The Beggar's Bush, 
or The Jolly Tanner. 

Perhaps I should say something of my fellow-travellers 
of the interior. Besides my companion, there was a rich 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON 



banker, a man of much note in the city. He was a Jew, and 
an unbelieving one, indeed ; for he did not seem to have 
placed any more faith in Moses than he did in Jesus Christ. 
He was full of cleverness and intelligence, both natural and 
acquired ; for he added the sprightliness and versatility of 
youth to the experience and observation of a very mature 
age. It was quite frightful to hear the tenets of such un- 
measured infidelity put forth with a calm indifference, and 
yet with so much ingenuity. What, however, made his 
mode of thinking in religion the more extraordinary, was 
the perfectly orthodox character of his opinions as a politi- 
cian. He was a thorough Church-and-King man, and an 
undoubting and uncompromising Tory. As a Jew, exclud- 
ed from any participation in the benefits of a church, to 
which, as a proprietor, he doubtless contributed most ex- 
tensively, and from any influence in the conduct of a go- 
vernment which he was yet called on to support, such 
opinions might seem inconsistent and paradoxical. 

And yet the man argued from a just perception of his 
own well-understood interests. He was like him, of whom 
we read in the New Testament, in which he did not believe, 
who could not see the truth because he was very rich. 
He had much property, and was a great fundholder, and 
therefore contemplated with dismay the prospect of any 
change in the present order of things, or any revolution 
calculated to interfere, or open the door to interference, 
with vested rights, to shake the tottering and unsubstantial 
fabric of that public credit in which his own was involved, 
and to take from property its present overwhelming pre- 
ponderance. Of course he was an arrant infidel in the 
virtue and excellence of our republican institutions, and 
in the conservative vitality of a system which admits labour 
to some share in the state, thereby securing its weary sons 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON. 



261 



a just portion of the profits of their toil, instead of trans- 
ferring all beyond a mere grudging and exiguous subsis- 
tence, to the coffers of a moneyed oligarchy. 

Our fourth traveller was a man of very different de- 
scription, who yet, from community of interests, had some 
sympathy with the Jew. He was a good-natured cockney, 
full of city slang, and not deficient in humour. After 
attaining the age of manhood in the heart of London, and 
growing up in the full belief of all those prescribed opinions 
which the mass of Englishmen receive from each other, 
with somewhat less reservation than they subscribe to the 
thirty-nine articles, he had been led to America by some 
speculations which had a very fortunate result, and re- 
mained there during many years. He was the owner of 
property in both countries; and the different burdens he 
was subjected to in one and the other, and the very dif- 
ferent balances of interest he from time to time received, 
suggested the most embarrassing additions to his stock of 
previously-conceived opinions. 

His mind now exhibited a strange lumber-room, filled 
with notions as heterogeneous as the contents of the till of 
a seaman's chest, stuffed with the discordant contributions 
of a dozen climes ; church-and-state maxims; loyalty to 
the king; the advantages of an aristocracy, and the benefit 
of having a class to look up to — a feeling which is so elo- 
quently advocated by that mirror of pride and chivalry, 
Captain Basil Hall — and the benefit to be derived from 
the vast expenditure of a costly government, the money ail 
remaining in the country, and keeping up a circulation 
there, were strangely blended in his mind, with quaint, com- 
mon-sense notions which he had picked up in America 
about religious equality ; the absence of all other distinc- 
tions than those of personal merit and respectability; exemp- 
tion from tithes, taxes, and poor-rates, and the benefits of 



262 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON. 



cheap government. In America, he said, we had neither 
pensions, unless for undoubted services rendered to the 
state, sinecures, nor poor-laws, by which the laborious 
are made to support the idle. This advantage he ascribed 
to the circumstance of our having the benefit of the expe- 
rience of the old country to guide us ; illustrating our po- 
sition most humorously by saying, that " America is just 
like that king — what do you call him — who was born with 
teeth ; or that man they tell about, who dove overboard 
naked and came up with a cocked hat on his head." Among 
such things as he did not like in America, was the too 
great precocity of our American youth. He said the boys 
with us were all little miniature men, destitute of all proper 
awe of their superiors. In England, on the contrary, the 
whip broke their unruly spirit in season, and taught them 
to be obedient, subordinate, and loyal. " The rod," said 
he, " teaches obedience, and the use of money, as they 
grow up, to be comfortable." 

Our cockney was a neat, clean, comfortable little man 
of a certain age, extremely well preserved, having a 
round bullet head, with scattering gray hair, a rosy face, 
the nose on which told of the daily pint of port, and a 
small cunning eye, which he winked knowingly when he 
said anything that was particularly acute. Though chat- 
tering, fussy, and betraying perpetual impatience by the 
frequency with which he looked at his watch, and stretch- 
ed from the coach window to see how far we had come, 
he was yet, on the whole, both amiable and amusing ; and, 
though evidently feeling very complacent towards himself, 
he was yet not unmindful of what was due to the self- 
complacency of others. This he evinced by taking our part 
against the Jew in the political discussion, which was very 
necessary, for my companion had been too long in the 
country to permit himself to become impatient on these 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON. 



2(33 



subjects, and I, though not wholly without a set of received 
opinions of my own, had no desire to make proselytes to 
republicanism, felt no obligation to spread the truth, or 
to convert, or to unsettle men's opinions, had I been able, 
and had no taste for argument of any sort. 

There was, however, one subject in the discussion upon 
America, in which these disputants most entirely agreed. 
This was the war then waging between General Jackson and 
the Banl^ of the United States. Both of them were deeply 
interested as stockolders in that institution ; the fussy little 
man to the amount of a hundred thousand dollars, and the 
Jew to a much greater. Now, certainly, it was not very 
considerate towards them, to break up a solvent and flourish- 
ing institution, which furnished them with an interest of 
seven per cent., and give them back their money to be vested 
in funds which, while they would only yield them half that 
interest, or even something less, might be sent at once to 
the devil, and turned into chaff, by the consequence of 
war without, or the breaking out of a revolution within. It 
would have been most unreasonable, then, to expect any 
other than one coinciding opinion between them, and this, 
of course, most damnatory of the iron General. 

I was necessarily mystified by their reasonings about ex- 
changes, the regulation of credit, and the salutary checks 
to over-trading, which were all to me as unintelligible as 
Hebrew. But when they came to talk about the security 
of the moneyed interests, the representation of property, 
and the preponderance of capital for its own protection, and 
I — while they carried out their deductions, in one sense, 
concerning the dread of democracy, the sweeping devasta- 
tion of a rabble inundation, and the horrors of an agrarian 
law — pursuing mine in a directly opposite sense, contem- 
plated the effects of such a system in elevating the rich and 
crushing the poor, and bringing about, by means of the 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON 



systematic usurpation of those powers of government which 
society delegates in the interests and for the general hap- 
piness of all, such frightful and preposterous disparities of 
fortunes, from which misery can find no outlet of escape, 
and which award to toil no other reward than the privilege 
still to toil on for ever, I could not help glorying in the live- 
and-let-live system of my own country, and honouring the 
magnanimity of that man who, discovering in a rich corpo- 
ration the disposition to control the suffrage, and usurp 
the sovereignty of the people, had dared to stand singly 
forward as the champion of the poor, and to send back, as 
the constitution permitted him to do, for reconsideration, 
the solemn verdict of the representatives of the people. 

I have neither taste nor turn for argument ; but, by a 
strange perverseness, I have a singular facility, in listening 
to the arguments of others, to be convinced sometimes in 
the directly opposite sense from what they intended. This 
occurred to me now, and led me first to doubt the expe- 
diency of sustaining an institution which these men were so 
auxious to support. The bills of the United States Bank, in 
which I had been long accustomed to receive my monthly 
pittance, were the only ag money in America for which I had 
any respect. What little feeling I had on the subject had, 
therefore, been hitherto in its favour. What I now heard first 
led me to doubt whether General Jackson were not the sort 
of president we needed at this conjuncture ; for my ears had 
been tickled by the well-turned phrases and epigrammatic 
smartness of his immediate predecessor, and although my 
profession released me from the obligation of striking the 
balance of my opinions at the ballot-box, yet what little feel- 
ing I had was not in his favour. Now, however, the tide of 
my opinions began to turn, and, not long after, I was made 
a complete believer in the virtues of the hickory-tree by the 
kind efforts of a zealous friend, who undertook to enlighten 



DRIVE TO BRIGHTON. 2ttt 

me, and whose perverted arguments and bad pleasantries 
succeeded at length in rooting my opinions in the directly 
opposite sense. Perhaps I should be ashamed to confess, 
this perverseness, the piglike disposition of my opinions to 
run, in spite of me, in opposition to the very arguments 
benevolently intended to enlighten them, did I not recollect, 
in recurring to my mathematical reminiscences, that there 
is no reasoning so irresistible as that of the reductio ad 
absurdum. 

Ere the subject was exhausted, I had fallen asleep, and 
only awoke amid the glare of the lighted streets of Brighton. 
A fly speedily conveyed us to the Albion, where, after a 
change of dress, we consoled ourselves in the coffee-room, 
over a comfortable dinner, for the slight fatigues of our 
journey. On rising the next morning and opening the 
windows, I found that my room had a southern exposure, 
and overlooked the sea. The hotel stood alone, out of the 
general line of the buildings lining the quay, and at the verge 
of a slight promontory. Though it was already nine o'clock, 
the light was dim and imperfect. The sky was overcast by 
dark clouds, flying low and quick, for it blew tremendously. 
The gloom sO thickened seaward that but little of the ocean 
was visible; this was lashed into fury and torn by the wind, 
coming in heavily in breakers as it approached the snore, 
and converting itself into a raging surf in beating against 
the shingle, and sending up a deafening roar not inferior to 
that of Niagara. 

There was a stout parapet wall, built up to protect the 
shore from the encroachments of the water, as well as to 
form a barrier to the road and promenade; while break- 
waters, running seaward at right angles from it, served still 
farther to protect it, by intercepting the rollers, and break 
ing their continuity. To the left appeared the celebrated 
chain pier, which was constructed to facilitate the landing of 



266 



BRIGHTON. 



passengers from steamers, and which, having been recently 
destroyed in a gale of wind, was in process of being repaired. 
It consisted of a collection of wooden piers, planted securely 
in the sands, and standing at equal intervals from each other. 
From each of these rose a species of tower, from which the 
chains supporting the bridge were suspended. 

There was, as yet, little movement or sign of animation, 
for it was Sunday, and in no country is the odious habit of 
rising late on that day so universal as in England. A few 
restless urchins were playing among the shingle, running 
after the receding waves, and taking quickly to their heels 
to escape, as the proud sea came raging in again to assert 
his dominion. There was one other group whose errand 
was less joyous. It was a wan and meager woman, in 
squalid attire, with the tatters of a straw hat on her head, 
and attended by a little boy yet more ragged than herself. 
They were searching the beach attentively, and collecting 
whatever, in their abject condition, they might esteem valu- 
able. Now and then some trifling article was secured and 
placed in a coarse bag, which the woman bore upon her 
back. I thought of the frequent wrecks occurring on this 
coast; of the last possessors of the wretched property, which 
the sea, having swallowed what was most noble, now re- 
linquished and threw back; and how willingly, in their 
doomed hour, they would have exchanged conditions with 
even this miserable gleaner, — the widow, haply, of some 
drowned seamen. 

If I had already felt some of the inconveniences of an 
English Sunday, in being compelled to be in bed somewhat 
longer than was agreeable to me, in order to accommodate 
myself to the general postponements of the day, I found, in 
descending to the coffee-room, others which I took even 
more to heart, in the unsatisfactory character of my break- 
fast. Stale bread appeared as the representative of hot rolls, 



BRIGHTON. 



267 



and eke to do the honours of the smoking and comfort-breath- 
ing muflins. This might equally have been the case in my 
own country. Alas! that religion, which is in itself so ex- 
cellent a thing, should be so wholly incompatible with a 
good breakfast. God's blessing be upon that man who first 
invented a newspaper! for it is a comfort under every mis- 
fortune; by its aid even a bad breakfast maybe swallowed 
with composure. 

With my equanimity thus partially restored, I wandered 
forth, leaning upon the arm of my friend, as the melancholy 
music of the bells announced the hour of devotion. The 
waiter had directed us to the church where we would be 
most likely to hear a good sermon, and meet with edification 
for our souls. Thither we bent our steps. As we went, 1 
had an opportunity of gathering an idea of the situation of 
Brighton, and its general appearance. It extends along a 
low terrace, closely skirting the seashore, and being under 
cover of a range of hills, formed by the higher land of the 
interior, which overlook it to the north. Hence it is pro- 
tected from the cold winds, and only exposed to the more 
genial southern breezes that blow from the sea. 

This gives it great advantages as a winter residence, and 
leads numbers of people in infirm health, or who, without 
this cause, are attentive to their comfort, to establish them- 
selves here during the winter months. The greater part of 
the town is of modern construction, having sprung up since 
the erection of the Marine Pavilion by George IV., when 
Prince of Wales, who first attracted the attention of the 
rich to the capabilities of the place, and led many people 
of rank and fashion, with a still greater number who were 
desirous of becoming so, to build in so eligible a position. 
A city having such a luxurious origin could scarce fail to be 
a magnificent one. Many of the houses are constructed on 
uniform designs, in terraces overlooking the sea, and the 



BRIGHTON. 



general impression produced by whatever one sees here is 
of a pervad ing elegance and good taste. 

The church into which we presently entered was a very 
neat one, in a style of architecture slightly resembling the 
Morisco, — the architect having probably caught his inspi- 
rations from the eccentricities of the Pavilion. The services 
were performed by two clergymen. The elder one, whom 
1 took to be the vicar, read prayers. He was a venerable 
old roadster, who had evidently been broken into his duties 
by long practice, and who went on in a very persevering, 
dingdong manner, his voice offering a rich specimen of that 
nasal euphony which is ascribed to the people of New Eng- 
land. It is a very general remark, that the people of New 
England are the Americans who, being exclusively of Eng- 
lish origin, most nearly resemble the mother country. This 
may, perhaps, account for an identity in this respect, which 
I had already noticed with sufficient frequency. 

A younger man, who was doubtless the rector, was a 
person of much more elegant appearance, and of very su- 
perior air and pretensions. His sermon was very good, and 
delivered with much attention to oratorical effect, and with 
an energetic shake of the head, which, however well calcu- 
lated to frighten sinners, was more impressive than graceful. 
As for the clerk, who responded below, he was a little man, 
done up in a black gown, richly sprinkled with silk knots. 
He had, as clerks usually have everywhere, a singularly 
precise and professional manner of performing the functions 
that fell to his share; his pronunciation was most peculiar, 
especially in the often-repeated ejaculation, " Amen!" in 
which he contrived — it is to be hoped with less sacrifice — 
to pitch his voice to the tone of Velluli, or some other model 
of the neuter gender. 

The organ was extremely well played; but the singing 
» as most execrable, the chief performers being either the 



BRIGHTON. 



parish children or the juvenile members of a Sunday school, 
who, being well pleased to escape for the time from the 
restraints of their position, and let off the restless exu- 
berance of their spirits in some legitimate and admitted way, 
yelled forth a hideous discord, most distressing to sensitive 
nerves, and which might only be compared to a concert of 
assembled swineherds, blowing each, on his own account, 
his separate symphony on a cracked cow-horn. 

On leaving church we found the weather still more 
inclement. The strong gale from the sea brought with it 
an occasional cloud, blacker and more heavy than the rest, 
which, as it passed above, emptied itself in a drenching 
shower. To carry an umbrella was out of the question. 
So great was the force of the wind, that it gave full em- 
ployment to a man's muscular energies to force himself 
forward. As the squalls blew by, the eye was able to pe- 
netrate the gloom for a mile or two seaward, though the 
atmosphere was mingled with mist, rain, and spray, wildly 
blended. A couple of brigs, under close-reefed topsails, 
were buffeting with the winds and waves; and a cutter 
under very low sail was standing in shore, and endeavour- 
ing to work to the westward. They scarcely gained any- 
thing, while they must evidently have been greatly strained, 
and doubtless, if one could have had the patience to watch 
them, they would have been, ere long, seen to bear up, 
abandon what they had gained, and run for the Downs, or 
some nearer shelter. 

Intrenched within the citadel of our apartment, and 
cheered by the comfortings of a coal fire, we passed the day 
in letter-writing, conversation, or gazing from the sheltered 
security of our windows upon the agitated sea, and the 
hapless mariners who were contending with its horrors. 
Dinner came to our relief in the evening, and by its aid we 
managed to overcome no inconsiderable number of the 



270 



BRIGHTON 



weary hours that remained to us. The system of solitary 
dining and non-association prevalent in English inns, and 
which has its origin in the distinction of classes, certainly 
has its disadvantages, and these bear with peculiar hardship 
on the solitary stranger, not only by depriving him of the 
accidental society which is perpetually thrown in his way 
in other countries, but by withdrawing from him those 
means of information, and of obtaining an insight into na- 
tional manners, which are furnished by a different system. 

But though not brought into immediate contact with my 
fellow-frequenters of the coffee-room at the Albion, I saw 
enough of them to be greatly pleased with their tone and 
manners. These were quiet, respectable, unostentatious, 
and characterized by a scrupulous attention to refinement 
and the rules of good-breeding. The conversation among 
those who knew each other was easy and intelligent, and a 
stranger to argument or excited discussion. Many indeed 
of these persons were men of distinction, and one among 
them was the representative of a family which has been 
distinguished in the annals of the land since the period of 
the Conquest, uniting in his person the dignities of admiral 
and peer. Indeed, among all those who frequented the 
coffee-room during a week that I remained at Brighton, I 
noticed but one person whose manners were offensive. 

This was a fussy, talking, intrusive old fellow, who could 
not be got rid of or shaken off, a beggar of franks, an arrant 
pretender to gentility, and a personification of whatever is 
vulgar. Yet I was told that this was a person of large for- 
tune in the City, a great speculator on the Corn Exchange, 
and, what I found somewhat more difficult of belief, an in- 
dividual who had enjoyed the benefit of a liberal education 
and foreign travel. At any rate his conversation was made 
up of low sentiments, expressed by low ideas, and uttered 
in low English, rife with city slang, and the choicest cock- 



BRIGHTON. 



271 



neyism of pronunciation. He talked loudly, and for effect; 
and when the aristocrat was at hand, instead of imitating 
his own unpretending demeanour, it was then, precisely, 
that he was most swelling and offensive. He seemed, in- 
deed, to become more vulgar by the very effort to be elegant. 
This was one illustration of the effects of aristocratic dis- 
tinctions, from which philosophers and drawers of conclu- 
sions may extract what inferences they please. 

As I said before, the prevailing tone of manners among 
the frequenters of the coffee-room was simple and decorous 
in the extreme, and the vulgarity of the single exception 
only rendered it more apparent. Indeed, my subsequent 
experience tended to confirm the impression which I then 
received, that nowhere, so much as in England, is the class 
of travellers — from various causes, growing out of the vast 
difference of expense and the very different remuneration 
of labour, of course infinitely more circumscribed than 
with us — so scrupulously observant of whatever is enjoined 
by the established axioms of good-breeding, or the dictates 
of good taste. An observer might come armed with Don 
Quixote's directions to Sancho Panza, when he was trying 
to make an extempore gentleman of him ere he undertook 
the government of his island, or with Mr Shandy's list of 
well-bred qualifications required in a tutor for his son — 
he might be as sensitive as either Sterne or Cervantes, 
and as censorious as he pleased — and yet be able to find 
little to cavil at, in whatever relates to refinement and ex- 
ternal propriety. 



CHAPTER XXIL 



BRIGHTON. 

Pavilion — Palace— Stables — A fine Day — Hurdle Race — High Wind— 
The Race — The Esplanade — Return to London — Conversation on the 
Road. 

The Pavilion at Brighton is much the most eccentric 
building I have seen. It is in the Chinese taste, if in any 
besides its own, being composed of a mass of low walls, 
out of which arise a number of very singular domes, having 
their greatest diameter at some distance from the base, and 
presenting much the figure of an inverted top. At the an- 
gles are placed tall stone columns, which are very light 
and delicate in their proportions, and which, as well as the 
domes, terminate in quaint ornaments, resembling log-reels. 
These columns, from their extreme lightness, have the air 
of tent-poles, and, with the rest, convey the idea of some 
gorgeous Indian encampment, instead of a palace of mas- 
sive stone. The columns have a toppling insecure look ; 
but though the winds blow with great violence at Brigh- 
ton, none of them have ever fallen. 

Having been much struck with the external appearance 
of this singular and most fantastic edifice, I was not sorry 
to have an opportunity of seeing it within, which, from the 



BRIGHTON. 



27:$ 



circumstance of the palace being then inhabited, I had not 
ventured to expect. This advantage was procured for me 
by the attentive courtesy of one of the king's aid-de-camps, 
who, supposing that the sight would be acceptable to me, 
had kindly offered to conduct me, and fixed an hour for 
me to meet him. I found him at breakfast in a large apart- 
ment, having much the air of the coffee-room of a French 
inn. In the centre was a large table, furnished with va- 
rious condiments, and the universal newspapers, while 
lords and officers were seated round in table d'hote fashion, 
each breakfasting according to his fancy. Some were 
reading or writing letters, others discussing politics, palace 
news, military or naval discipline, or fashionable intelli- 
gence in high life. One or two had been in America, on 
service with their regiments. 

If the Pavilion had seemed curious to me from without, 
it was not less so when I came to look at it within. The 
dining pavilion was especially magnificent. Its ceiling was 
formed by the interior of one of those singular domes 
which I had seen from without. From the centre hung a 
gorgeous lustre of a strange design, to correspond with the 
rest. On one occasion this fell down upon the table with a 
fearful crash. It was blowing a gale of wind, and the 
domes being all of iron, covered with metal, yield a little at 
such times, and acquire a slight vibratory motion. This 
was the cause of the accident, and it certainly was very op- 
portune in its occurrence, as my companion observed. 
Had the catastrophe occurred at a royal banquet, one 
might imagine what would have been the effects on the 
nerves of sensitive dames and ladies in waiting. 

The paintings and ornaments were in a rather tea-chest 
taste, yet not, therefore, destitute of grace. They were beauti- 
fully executed on linen, with which the walls were lined, re- 
presenting in a strange arabesque the blended forms of 

18 



'274 



BRIGHTON 



serpents, dragons, and whatever was strange and extrava- 
gant, and might therefore he Asiatic. My companion re- 
marked to me, that, though each object was, individually 
considered, rather horrible and disgusting, yet the effect of 
the whole was not by any means unpleasing. In passing, 
he pointed out to me the awful table at which the king was 
wont to sit in the evening with the queen, and one or two 
privileged favourites. It happened to be the time at which 
the royal family were likely to be returning from the break- 
fast-room, and we had to move with much caution, as our 
proceedings were not exactly in order. 

In passing to the stables, we traversed the garden, 
which has none of those beauties that so universally abound 
in places of the sort in England. The trees are all planted 
in straight lines, and the walks are stiff and formal. This 
however may be a concession to the unities, and a compli- 
ment to the Chinese, though I believe they were the ori- 
ginal inventors of what is known on the Continent as the 
English garden. The stables, however, are very beautiful, 
and have the reputation of being the finest in the world. 
They are built in amphitheatric form, with ranges of horse- 
shoe arches, supported by a colonnade. The taste is de- 
cidedly Saracenic, though there is more attention to gene- 
ral symmetry than is found among the Moors. Though 
this amphitheatre be very vast, almost large enough for a 
bull-fight, yet it is covered throughout with a glass dome, 
kept together by an ingenious frame-work of iron. The 
stables completely surround the open area, while above, 
and opening on the corridor, are the apartments of the 
grooms, postilions, and coachmen. Each horse had a neat 
straw mat, to serve as a carpet to his stall, and on which 
his bed is made. The temperature was exceedingly warm 
in this stable, and when the sun shines upon the glass 
dome, it is said to be oppressive. 



BRIGHTON 



I think, though my opinion is not worth much, that the 
stables are almost always too warm in England, and the 
horses too much pampered. They are very apt to get sick, 
and require perpetual nursing. I know from experience 
that in Madeira, where horses are taken from both Eng- 
land and America, the American horse of equal figure 
will bring a higher price, and is always preferred as being 
most serviceable and hardy. Perhaps, however, the Eng- 
lish system may produce a finer animal for luxury and 
show. There is certainly no country in which the horses 
are groomed as they are here. In the stables we talked 
with a trooper, who was occupied in clipping the entire 
coat of a saddle-horse, having come down from his bar- 
racks in London for the purpose. This is a new idea, of 
only a few years' standing. The effect on the appearance 
of the horse is certainly very improving. This custom has 
been maintained in Spain from time immemorial, where 
the mules are clipped annually at the entrance of the sum- 
mer, though there they remove the whole hair with great 
address, and have an object separate from ornament, 
which is to diminish the difficulty of cleaning, and still 
better to prepare the animal for resistance to the intensity 
of the heat. 

The display of horseflesh was very gratifying. There 
were four very fine bays, and as many grays. I was grieved 
to see, however, that the saddle as well as coach-horses 
were mutilated, and without tails. The Queen's carriages 
were exceedingly neat and plain, being chiefly chariots, 
with seats behind for the footmen, and without boxes. I 
was very much amused at the sight of a most formidable 
vehicle, which is used to transport the maids of the royal 
establishment from palace to palace. Though I had never 
seen it filled, I was ready, from what I had already ob- 
served of English maids, to believe that, when duly 

is 



'270 



BRIGHTON 



freighted, it would contain as agreeable a collection of good 
looks, fresh complexions, and wholesome figures as might 
anywhere be found. It was known by the humorous name 
of the Columbus. If the care-worn discoverer could have 
had that coach-load of comfort with him in some of his 
wayfarings, it would certainly have been a great and most 
acceptable solace to his weary soul. 

Having forgotten to show me the kitchen, my courteous 
conductor took me back to the Pavilion for the purpose. 
There was quite an army of joints, turning by means of 
clockwork machinery before a coal fire, in readiness for the 
royal lunch and the dinners of the domestics, while a reserve 
of haunches of mutton, venison, and poultry, was drawn 
up on the eminence of a distant table, ready to give at 
dinner the mercy-stroke to the gastronomic capabilities of 
the day. There were quantities of cooks, scullions, and 
women preparing pastry. They were scrupulously neat 
in their appearance, and every thing in the place looked 
nice, clean, and decidedly English. 

Upon the whole, I was pleased with the Pavilion. 
Though original, eccentric, and unlike any thing else, yet 
the effect is good. Perhaps it may be considered the most 
successful architectural oddity that was ever perpetrated. 
The expense of its construction was of course enormous, 
and indeed it laid the foundation of the subsequent pecu- 
niary embarrassments of George IV. William, in speak- 
ing of it, once remarked, with the plain sense and nautical 
directness that distinguish him, " Well! though I must say 
that I should never have built such a place myself, since it 
is here 1 will enjoy it." Just as an old quarter-master, left 
heir-at-law by some departed brother of the compass and 
cun-ladder to an outlandish pea-jacket, might say, " Well, 
this is bloody curious, to be sure, with all these out-of-the- 
way stow-holes" (running his hands into the pockets), " but 



BRIGHTON 



277 



since Jack has taken the trouble to have it built, and been 
so kind as to die and leave it to me, why here's put her on, 
right off the reel; and a bloody good fit it is, too." 

I expected to leave Brighton without having seen a 
glimpse of the sun, or enjoyed the comfort of so much as 
one fine day. Such, however, was not to be the case. 
The Wednesday subsequent to my arrival the wind lulled, 
the clouds scattered themselves, and the sun peeped mildly 
and languidly out, lighting up the scene with a subdued 
cheerfulness. When I went forth, after breakfast, I found 
that others had been waiting for this relenting mood besides 
myself. The whole town was in an uproar of bustle and 
preparation. The fox-hunting population, who had been 
unable to participate in their favourite pastime for many 
days, were all mounted, and in high feather, spurring gaily 
through the town, with a polish on themselves and their 
well-groomed horses which was likely to be a little dimmed 
by the adventures of the day. 

There was no end to the gigs and equipages of various 
sorts, turning out on all sides for a drive. The number of 
pedestrians, also, was not inconsiderable. The females 
were well clothed, and stoutly and sensibly shod, and wore 
in their countenances a most pleasing expression of fresh- 
ness and good health. There were quantities of fine 
children sporting along the quay, under the care of their 
nurses, each with its toy of some sort, a pair of dissatisfied 
dogs, drawing very much against their will, or a pet goat 
harnessed to a neat phaeton. 

The modes of getting rid of time, which seemed to be 
the great end and object of all, were various. Some 
lounged into reading-rooms ; some sat down deliberately in 
shops, to make the most of the little business they were 
blessed with ; some had themselves weighed, and were able 
to judge of their relative condition. Thus was the burden 



27S 



BRIGHTON 



of the day got rid of. In the afternoon all repaired, by 
common consent, to walk, ride, or drive along the ramparts 
by the seaside. There were a great many ladies on horse- 
back, riding beautifully, and with the confidence of assured 
skill; some were unattended by gentlemen, being followed 
by their servants; there were two whom I noticed in a 
phaeton, quite alone, driving a very spirited pair of horses, 
which one of them managed with consummate ease and 
skill; two grooms in livery, and admirably well mounted, 
followed them at a distance, leaving them quite unembar- 
rassed, and without the fear of being overheard, to make 
their remarks upon those who were passing. There was 
every species of equipage represented here, from the pony 
phaeton to the lumbering fly, which seemed ever on the 
ascent. Even the Queen added her beautiful and rapid 
equipage, for a moment, to swell and give brilliancy to the 
concourse. 

It would have been difficult anywhere to see a more 
brilliant spectacle, not only as far as the equipages were con- 
cerned, and the high-bred animals that drew them, but 
also as respects the collection of men and women which the 
occasion had assembled. The men were well grown, 
manly, and graceful, with fresh and handsome counte- 
nances •, the women were most pleasing in their appearance, 
with an air of health and cheerfulness, added to an expres- 
sion of great intelligence, in countenances which were, 
moreover, often radiant with brightness and beauty. 

I considered myself particularly fortunate, while at Brigh- 
ton, to hear that there was to be a hurdle-race over the 
neighbouring course. This was a new style of racing, 
which had become very fashionable, and of which I felt very 
curious to see a specimen. On the morning fixed for it, it 
blew the usual hurricane. Sailor as I was, though a very 
tolerable horseman, I knew better than to perch myself on 



BRIGHTON 



horseback in sucli weather, which was just the time for 
housing masts and striking yards, instead of spreading any 
thing additional to the wind. I engaged a fly, therefore, 
to carry me to the scene of action; but, while 1 was pre- 
paring to go, the driver took himself off. There was not 
a vehicle in sight, and there was no choice but to walk, 
which was indeed no very great hardship, as the distance 
was only a mile. The wind, moreover, was directly aft; 
and, catching against my cloak and outspread elbows, drove 
me on like a ship under two lower studding-sails, making 
it only necesary to move my feet at double quick time, 
without making any muscular exertion whatever. 

The hills which overlook Brighton landward, and protect 
it from the north winds, are called the Downs. They are 
composed entirely of chalk, being covered with soil to the 
depth of a very few feet. They are not cultivated, but 
almost everywhere covered with grass, which serves as 
an excellent pasture for sheep, producing mutton of su- 
perior flavour, which is very celebrated. These hills have 
a gradual swell, and are not disagreeable objects, though 
monotonous, and naked of trees. They were to be the 
scene of the race; and, on reaching the allotted spot, 1 
already found the place thronged with people. I at once 
took refuge in the station-house, to escape from the force 
of the wind, which here blew with tenfold fury. 

On looking round me from this more comfortable post, 
the scene which presented itself was gay and animated. 
There was a brilliant assemblage of the rich and dis- 
tinguished population of the neighbouring watering-places; 
some were in tasteful chariots, driven by gaily-dressed 
postilions; others driving four-in-hand ; mounted gentle- 
men, followed by their grooms, or others, who were 
officers, by their orderlies in uniform; the grooms being 
usually more gaily mounted than their masters. Notwith- 



280 



BRIGHTON. 



standing the violence of the wind, there were even ladies 
on horseback, though they seemed as if about to be torn 
into ribands, and driven piecemeal by its violence. Among 
the more undistinguished throng were groups of private 
soldiers in their gay scarlet ; stout and merry wives from 
the neighbouring villages, who seemed not at all afflicted 
by the discomposure of their dress; and numbers of sturdy 
peasants in smock frocks, leathern leggings, like stockings, 
and apparently as much fixtures as those of Gurth, the 
swineherd, and having on coarse laced shoes, shod with 
pounds of iron. There were, also, venders of cakes and 
strong beer, attending to the behests of these last as they 
called out roughly — "I say, master! a pint of heavy wet!" 
Some fellows were trying, in various parts of the field, — 
not everywhere ineffectually, — to start some game they 
might turn to their advantage, or to get up a fight, which 
might be as useful to them ; others, very much out at the 
elbows, slyly skulked about, watching, apparently, for a 
chance to lift the " blunt," or other moveable property 
of the unwary, when they should be lost in the excitement 
of the race. 

The ardour with which these manly sports are pursued 
in England was sufficiently shown by the circumstances 
of so great a crowd having assembled, notwithstanding the 
unpropitious character of the day. The wind, indeed, blew 
with such violence, that the garments of the spectators 
fluttered on all sides like split topsails in a hurricane at 
sea ; hats, handkerchiefs, shawls, and cloaks, were per- 
petually escaping, and driving far before the blast. The 
horses often refused to face it, and turned to escape its 
force ; and in the course of the day I saw, myself, two 
flies, now first doubtless meriting the name, which were 
blown completely over, carrying the drivers with them. 
One of these accidents occurred immediately beneath the 



m 

BRIGHTON. ' 281 

station-house, amid a large crowd, where many might have 
been injured, and possibly killed, but very fortunately, 
there was no one caught by the overturned vehicle. 

The course over which the race was to be run was 
neither level nor circular. It was nearly two miles long, 
branching out into an elliptic form at the extremity, which 
turned the horses, and brought them back again to the 
stand by the same road on which they had left it. In 
leaving the starting place, the horses were to leap, in suc- 
cession, three sheep-hurdles — a species of wicket-fence, 
three or four feet high, and used as a temporary enclosure 
for sheep — placed at distances of a hundred yards from 
each other, and these were to be again leaped in returning 
to the winning-post. 

The scene was brilliantly animated within the enclosure, 
when the cloths were stripped off the horses, and the riders 
vaulted into the saddle. The horses, ten in number, were 
stout and powerful hunters, and though not full-blooded, 
or having a very racing look, yet still appearing well suited 
to the heavy work that was before them. The riders were 
all gentlemen, generally riding their own horses, and beau- 
tifully dressed in white breeches, top boots, and caps and 
jackets of crimson, purple, violet, or tartan. They sat 
finely and gracefully on their powerful horses, heedless of 
hurdles, hurricanes, or whatever might betide them, though 
the feat they were about to undertake was not wholly 
without its dangers. 

At length they all started together, and at a round pace. 
The horse mounted by the rider in tartan, which was as 
*gallant in his bearing as any at the outset, refused the 
very first hurdle, bringing his rider with a sudden bolt 
completely over his head. He was, however, anything 
but a dead man; in an instant he was mounted, and at 
length fairly forced his horse over. Charging boldly at 



282 BRIGHTON. 

the second hurdle, his horse bolted again, and again lie 
made a summerset, and so on three times in succession, 
at each falling on his back or head with more or less 
violence, but with no diminution of courage. Meantime 
the rest pursued their way with such fortune as they 
might. In returning to where the tartan chief was fiercely 
battling with his recusant charger, two horses swerved in 
leaping the hurdle, and came with their riders violently 
to the ground. And thus the race continued through its 
various heats, the horsemen riding over each other in 
turn, and each meeting with accidents enough to have 
killed a dozen, yet the whole ending without one broken 
bone, or a single one of the hardy horsemen losing heart, 
however maltreated. The spectacle, on the whole, was 
the most brilliant one of the sort I had ever seen; and 
the exhibition of the bold and fearless character which 
is developed among Englishmen by the pursuit of field 
sports, was most creditable to the country and pleasing 
to contemplate. 

I was fortunate enough to find a carriage to return in, 
as meeting the wind face to face would have been a for- 
midable encounter. Indeed, it blew so hard that it was not 
without exertion that the horses could draw the carriage 
down a tolerably sleep hill. Sometimes the fly-men would 
have to descend and draw their horses downward by the 
head. A few horse-women, scattered along the road, were 
well-nigh torn asunder by the pitiless blast ; and, what with 
fluttering attire, escaping hat, and dishevelled hair, offered 
the most piteous spectacle in the world. Don Quixote 
should have been there to add to the variety of his ad- 
ventures, by battling with the wind in the cause of these 
distressed damsels. The walkers only got forward by stretch- 
ing so far out of the perpendicular, as to have the air of 
men swimming for their lives. 



BRIGHTON 



283 



My time at Brighton did not pass very agreeably. The 
only persons I knew there had left. I afterward found, 
indeed, that had I overlooked my letters, and cast about 
me a little, I might have made some useful acquaintance. 
One individual in particular, not less distinguished for 
the charms of his character than the graces of his mind, 
and whose kindness subsequently sought me out, and 
loaded me with many and most acceptable favours, heard 
of my having been there, and regretted that the oppor- 
tunity had not then occurred of being useful to me. Had 
1 known this circumstance at the time, my situation would 
have been very different, and all my subsequent movements 
might have been essentially modified. As it was, my time 
hung heavily. Though the hotel was a good one, I began 
to tire of it. The inmates of the coffee-room were, as I 
before said, very agreeable people. And many of them, 
discovering by my correspondence — exhibited with the rest 
each morning on the chimney — that I was a foreigner, began 
to address me and offer me civilities. 

I was, however, weary with seeing the landlord enter 
each day, at the same hour, with a similar leg of mutton, 
and deposit it solemnly before me ; this daily tete-a-t&te with 
a sheep's leg began to annoy me. I took a violent dislike 
moreover to the waiter. He was a shrewd, clever, and 
active fellow enough, and not wanting in civility. But his 
fortunes had elevated him above his sphere, and he was 
aspiring to be himself an innkeeper. He had accumulated 
a little property from his gleanings in the coffee-room, the 
which property he had invested in certain flies, which stood 
at the inn door for the use of the guests. Now, if a guest 
required a fly, it was the thing of all others in which he was 
likely to secure the prompt attention of the waiter ; while 
another, who pined for cotelettes or collops, was left to 
languish in hopeless and unheeded deprivation. 



284 



BRIGHTON. 



There were other circumstances about the establishment, 
with which I was in the humour to be displeased. The 
house was full of young women of an interesting age, and 
most of them sufficiently well-looking. These cumbered 
stairways and passages, and met me at every turning. All 
their occupations were accompanied by music; thus, a lusty 
siren who scrubbed about my door, serenaded me each 
morning with the seductive accents of — " I have loved 
thee;" while a more sentimental damsel, whose duty it was 
to fill the pitchers, sighed forth her soul each evening in the 
fond invitation — " Meet me by moonlight alone !" 

The long nights, which, for want of better occupation, 
I passed alone in my chamber, devoured by ennui, and 
with the lurid glare of the sea-coal fire scattering a me- 
lancholy and partial light around me, were full of misery. 
The only real pleasure within my reach was to repair to 
the esplanade leading to the Pier. Here were one or two 
rude benches under cover from the weather ; the surf 
beat immediately at my feet, while, behind, all other objects 
were excluded by the high parapet, which protected the 
town from the encroachments of the sea. During the day, 
this place was much resorted to by fashionable walkers, 
but by night not a footfall disturbed its silent walks, and 
then a man might seek out this solitude, and be alone with 
nature and himself. Here I was wont to repair in the dead 
of the night, and enveloped in my cloak, stretch myself on 
one of these benches. Usually the sky lowered, the blast 
swept by, bringing with it an occasional shower, to which 
the sea would mingle its mists. Then, to contemplate this 
strife of the elements, and listen to the voice of terror in 
which they gave utterance to their rage, was to me a peculiar 
pleasure. 

From my youth I had been familiar with the sea, yet 
never before had I been so impressed with its grandeur. I 



BRIGHTON. 



285 



had lived among its horrors until they had hecome familiar 
to me as my most well-known friends. But now to con- 
template the ocean in its angriest mood, from the comfort 
and security of a sheltered situation, with unnumbered 
objects of comparison around me, and fresh from the 
contact with the common circumstances of an every-day 
existence, heightened immeasurably the sublimity of the 
scene. 

On one single occasion the night was tranquil; though 
the surf still beat with violence, the wind scarce sighed au- 
dibly over the broken waves, and the pale moon looked 
tremulously forth, silvering the tips of the broken billows, 
which, though the storm had gone by, and the breeze was 
gentleness itself, still danced madly, as if in terror of their 
past agitation. It is in such a moment, and when thus 
surrounded, that we love to abandon ourselves to the wings 
of our imagination, to search into the hidden recesses of the 
memory and the secret places of the heart, and bring forth 
whatever is connected with our tenderest recollections of 
the past. 

At the end of a week I started for London by the Wonder 
coach, having left Brighton at eight o'clock. The top of the 
coach was covered with schoolboys, who were returning to 
their friends in London to pass the Christmas holidays. 
Though they might be very well supposed to be half- 
perished with cold, as indeed their vivacious stamping on 
the roof of the coach sufficiently indicated, yet they were 
full of glee and merriment, shouting and cheering as we 
went, as if possessed. So soon as the day dawned, they 
began to shoot peas, through long tubes which they had for 
the purpose, into the faces of every one we met. There 
were several other coaches similarly blessed ; and when we 
passed each other, the urchins would mutually prepare to 
lire a volley, which, to judge from the report on our window- 



286 



BRIGHTON 



glasses of some of the enemy's shots, I should have es- 
teemed anything but acceptable. The youths on the various 
coaches seemed mutually to have encouraged the coachmen 
by words or promises, and to have inspired the dignified 
knights of the whip with something of their own vivacity, 
for we bowled along at a wondrous rate, even taking the 
name of our coach into consideration. 

We struck at once to the north, climbing the Downs. As 
the day dawned, I was pleased with the appearance of that 
part of the country which I had missed seeing on the drive 
down. There were many country-seats, and ornamental 
cottages of great beauty. In the kitchen gardens, of which 
there were many in sheltered situations by the roadside, I 
noticed it as not a little extraordinary, considering the season 
of the year, that many vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, 
and others, were perfectly green and fresh. The grass was 
in the same condition. The fields were filled with fat sheep 
of the South-Down breed, the freshness and richness of 
the pasture sufficiently accounting for their well-fed condi- 
tion. In others, the cows and oxen were taking their 
breakfast of dry hay, which had been scattered along the 
hawthorn trees to make it more tempting. 

These cares were attended to by sturdy peasants, in white 
frocks, gaiters, and hobnailed or wooden-soled shoes, who 
strode forward with indifference through the rain and wet 
grass; others, of inferior condition and worse clad, were 
engaged in breaking flints and sprinkling them on the road, 
or else in taking off the scrapings, so as to leave it smooth 
and level. At various points were notices, conspicuously 
placed, proclaiming the penalty which was to be inflicted 
on those who should remove the " road scrapings." The 
condition of the poor cannot be very enviable where there 
could be theft of this description. 

A little gipsy group, which we saw in the course of the 



BRIGHTON. 



28? 



morning, breakfasting under a hedge by the roadside, re- 
minded me of scenes with which I was already familiar, 
through the medium of pictures, novels, and descriptive 
sketches of English life. There was a little cart, the recep- 
tacle of rags, findings, and plunder of various sorts, from 
which a shaggy pony had been released, to crop the grass 
along the hedges. The tent had not been pitched, but the 
family group, consisting of father, mother, and two children, 
were collected about the tea-kettle, under shelter of a 
hedge, and making a meal, which their morning's exertions, 
and the stimulating effects of the open air in which they 
lived, no doubt rendered palatable. 

At every six or seven miles we changed horses, an ope- 
ration which did not delay us more than a minute or two. 
Sometimes at the foot of a hill, though of so slight elevation 
as to be scarce distinguishable as such, we would meet a 
mounted postillion with an extra pair of horses, which, 
taking us quickly in tow, would whirl us upward at a gallop. 

Having paused ten minutes at Crawley for breakfast, we 
again set forward, and in four hours and fifty minutes from 
the time of our starting from Brighton, we were set down 
at the Elephant and Castle, a distance of fifty-eight miles. 
The best driving indeed in England is found on this road. 
Many of the coaches are drawn throughout by beautiful and 
spirited horses, and some of the drivers are men of ruined 
fortunes, backsliders from distinguished families. Thus, I 
was told that one of them was the son of a baronet, and that 
a rattle-headed marquis, famous as a whip, not unfrequently 
amused himself in playing the coachman on this road. 

My fellow-passengers of the inside were a young couple, 
who, from the pleasure they seemed to take in each other's 
society, I imagined to be newly married, and a third per- 
son, somewhat older, very particular about the care of his 
luggage, and the comfortable accommodation of his per- 



288 



BRIGHTON. 



son, and who, from the confirmed character of his ways 
and habits, was as evidently a selfish and inveterate ba- 
chelor. This last individual was valetudinarian and hypo- 
chondriac. He had travelled extensively on the Continent ; 
knew a great deal about prices and the expense of living 
there; had been a little enlightened on the subject of 
cookery, and knew a thing or two about Rhenish and 
French wines. During the drive he edified us with a com- 
plete history of his complaints, and engaged in conversation 
with his countryman, silting opposite to him, about the 
fashionable news of the Court at Brighton. 

I was not a little astonished at the pleasure these people 
seemed to take in vying to show their acquaintance with 
the private and familiar history of titled people, to whom it 
was impossible, from a certain vulgar pretension of manner, 
that they could themselves be personally known, and in 
talking of entertainments in high life, and pleasures from 
which they were necessarily excluded. I subsequently 
found this unworthy custom to be a sufficiently prevailing 
one. What most shocked me, however, was the familiarity 
which the elder traveller showed with some of the inferior 
arrangements of the king's domestic establishment, and the 
singular pleasure he took in describing a Norfolk pie, which 
the king had lunched from on the preceding Sunday, and 
of which he had eaten, the day previous, at dinner. It was 
evident from his tone and manner, that if there were any 
act or circumstance of his past life of which he felt that he 
had reason to be proud, it was the eating of that pie. The 
reminiscence seemed to kindle within him an enthusiasm 
of self-contentment, equal to the achievement of the most 
honourable deeds. 

As our coach terminated its career in the City, and not 
at the West End, such of the passengers as were going to 
the latter transferred themselves to an omnibus, and went 



BRIGHTON. 



289 



off' in the direction of Westminster. When the last of us 
descended to take hackney-coaches in Regent-street, our 
young couple discovered, to their dismay, that one of their 
portmanteaus was missing. It was that of the lady, and 
doubtless contained the jewels and finery with which she 
had been striving to dazzle the gay world at Brighton. 
What pen may venture to describe the looks of dismay with 
which the hitherto happy pair gazed at each separate ar- 
ticle, produced from top, and boot, and stow-hole, until all 
were on the pavement, and saw, that what their eyes so 
earnestly sought to rest upon, was not! The grief with 
which Jacob bewailed the loss of Joseph might convey 
some notion of the scene ; or, if, reader, you have ever 
beheld the terrified solicitude with which a dog, suddenly 
deposited in a crowd, in a strange city, courses the pave- 
ment and seeks for his lost master, you may conceive the 
anxious and intense bewilderment of our hapless bride- 
groom. The loss of luggage in America, where people 
travel in bunches of six hundred, is the commonest occur- 
rence in the world, and occasions sufficient inconvenience, 
although the missing article, if duly labelled, is sure to re- 
turn, like another prodigal son ; but in London, where fifty 
thousand of the most ingenious inhabitants live without 
means or labour upon the goods of their fellow-men, the 
loser of a trunk has nothing better to do than to fold his 
hands, and utter an exclamation analogous to that of the 
bereaved Boabdil — " Wo is me, Alhama!" 

Having promised to domesticate myself under the roof of 
the friend who had accompanied me to Brighton, and who 
had already returned, I took my way to the Regent's Park. 
Here I found myself most pleasantly situated, in that part 
of London which I still continued to think the most attrac- 
tive, even when I had become familiar with the whole me- 
tropolis; having almost entire possession of a charming 

19 



290 



BRIGHTON. 



mansion, filled with every imaginable luxury and comfort, 
and commodious to a degree scarcely known in our own 
country, with abundance of civil and attentive servants, and 
a carriage or a saddle-horse perpetually at my disposal. 
The avocations of my friend and my own, if I might be 
said to have any, ceased at the same time, and our evenings 
passed together in a social intercourse, of which his ami- 
able character and agreeable qualities render the recollec- 
tion most pleasing to me. I began now to believe in the 
possibility of my being able to weather out, in this snug an- 
chorage, the horrors of a London winter, and to accom- 
plish that which I so much regretted having undertaken. 
Circumstances, however, very soon occurred to change my 
plans, and send me, a very willing exile, to sunnier and 
more congenial climes. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



LONDON. 

Christmas — Celebration by Populace — Comparison with Catholic Coun- 
tries — Westminster Abbey — Exterior — Interior— Services — Sermon — 
Tombs— Den of a great Publisher. 

The merry season of Christmas was now approaching ; 
and there was much to indicate that, however the times 
might have changed, and lost their poetry and pastimes in 
the more prosaic and utilitarian usages of the age of radi- 
calism and of steam, it was not to go by wholly unho- 
noured. The shops began to glow out with additional 
lustre; the goods were displayed in the windows to tempt 
the passers with more than usual coquetry ; and not a few 
of the lower classes began the prelude, by flourishes of 
drunken preparation, to the scene of debauchery which 
the streets of London were presently to exhibit. 

Among the more pleasing evidences of preparation for 
some great feast, in whose joys there were to be many par- 
takers, was the arrival of untold quantities of game by the 
vans and coaches from every part of the kingdom, whether 
sent as presents from the country to friends in town, or to 
swell the stock in trade of some extensive poulterer. The 

19* 



292 LONDON 

game thus transported by coach in England, from one ex- 
tremity to the other, is packed in boxes or hampers, or else 
left loose, where the distance is not considerable. Such 
indeed is the influx of game from some of the counties at 
this season, that the coaches are often exclusively freighted 
with it; and I saw one coach from Norfolk come whisking 
up to the Bull and Mouth, the day before Christmas, drawn 
by six smoking horses, and festooned in every direction — 
body, box, and carriage — with moor-fowl, hares, and 
partridges ; and exhibiting, moreover, for inside passengers, 
instead of the querulous features of weazen-faced old maids, 
or the bottle-nose of doughty half-pay officer, or the 
anxious countenance of muffled valetudinarian, the more 
interesting spectacle of dangling goose-heads, looking more 
than usually silly, or the whitened gills of what had late 
been vapouring and consequential turkey-gobblers. 

The riot had already commenced, one day in advance. 
An ill-judged charity, or their own economy, had furnish- 
ed the most wretched of the populace with the means of 
brutal indulgence, and at nightfall the streets of the capital 
resounded with drunken brawls, and the clamours of a per- 
vading debauchery. That night I went to Covent Garden 
theatre, to see the Christmas spectacle of Mother Hubbard 
and her Dog. Having tired of this, I next went to Drury 
Lane, where there was a most brilliant pageant, founded 
on the fable of St. George and the Dragon, and the Seven 
Champions of Christendom. In both places the audience 
was of a character more disgusting than can be furnished 
by any other capital in the world; 

In the places of inferior price the occupants were sit- 
ting in their shirt sleeves, their coats hanging down before 
the boxes, and sometimes falling ; bottles were passing from 
mouth to mouth, while immediately below me sat two ruf- 
fians with their sweethearts, who, in addition, to their bottle 



LONDON. 



293 



o£ gin, had a glass to drink it from, either because their 
tastes were more scrupulous, or because they had an eye 
to the just distribution of their " lush." One of them, who 
had but half a nose, kept his arm about the neck of his 
greasy partner, and indulged in open dalliance, in which, 
indeed, he was supported by the example of many others, 
in the face of the audience. 

This, in the boxes, consisted chiefly of persons of a ten- 
der age of either sex, who, having returned from their 
boarding-schools to spend the holidays at home, were 
brought by their parents to see what they might. The 
spectacle off the stage was at all events an edifying one ; 
and what with the shouts, groans, the whistling, and deaf- 
ening din, I left the place at length, completely stunned and 
heart-sick. 

There was nothing very refreshing in the scenes with- 
out. Here, too, the air was foul with gas, smoke, and ill 
odours of every sort. It was raining in a slow, deliberate 
manner. The streets, and they who perambulated them, 
were reeking with mud, while the corners and other sta- 
tions, where a more than usually brilliant display of gas- 
lights and stained glass announced the position of a gin- 
palace, were surrounded by ragged throngs, whose flushed 
faces, tainted breaths, and noisy clamour, gave evidence of 
the depth of their potations. These groups were not com- 
posed alone of the ruder sex, but women from the labour- 
ing classes of life, as well as of a more wretched descrip- 
tion, mingled in equal numbers. Many swaggered home- 
ward, cursing, or chanting a drunken catch, with a bottle 
in each hand ; while others, only singly armed, sustained on 
the other side an unconscious infant, exposed thus soon to 
the inclemency of the weather, and doomed to suck its ear- 
liest nourishment from a bosom polluted by poisonous mi- 
nisterings. 



594 



LONDON. 



It was near two o'clock: the light of day, withdrawn 
some ten hours earlier, had proclaimed that this was the 
season meant by nature for repose; yet everywhere the 
streets were thronged with whatever was unseemly in the 
spectacle of human degradation. The ears were shocked 
with slang and obscenity, and from blind alleys, constituting 
the darker haunts of misery and vice, proceeded the fierce 
clamour of drunken strife, and reiterated cries of " Mur- 
der! murder! 1 ' 

As I went musing homeward, it was difficult to realize 
that that which I had contemplated was done in comme- 
moration of the Nativity of our Saviour. It was by drunken 
orgies, murderous brawls, and shameless prostitution, that 
the English populace celebrated the advent of Him who 
came to establish a pure and unsullied religion — " the 
Lamb which taketh away the sins of the world." I could 
not help remembering that the last Christmas had found me 
among the Mahonese, a people who, being both Catholic 
and Spanish, had, as such, a double claim to the scorn and 
pity of Englishmen. What were the circumstances there 
attending the celebration of Noche Buena — the happy night 
of all the year? 

Why, the streets w r ere gay with groups of mirthful and 
merry-making maskers, pausing to sing and to dance be- 
neath balcony or veranda, until, as the midnight hour 
approached that fulfilled the period of the thrice joyous 
anniversary, all were seen to seek the temple which was to 
be the scene of its celebration. Behold the vast area of the 
noble edifice, filled with adoring thousands kneeling hum- 
bly on the pavement, as they contemplated the mystery 
which shadowed forth the scene of the Nativity, the Gothic 
roof trembling with the glad sounds of angelic hallelujahs, 
or reverberating to the joyous and life-inspiring strains 
peeled forth by that noble organ, thrilling the feelings with 



LONDON. 



295 



untold ecstasy, and elevating the soul heavenward with a 
holy joy, hy strains not unworthy of the skies. There was 
no intoxication, save what might be found in the delirious 
transports of believers, quickened into a sublime enthusiasm 
at the advent of the Redeemer. 

On Christmas-day my friend drove me to Westminster 
Abbey, to attend the morning service there, which I ex- 
pected would be, considering the greatness of the occasion, 
rich with pomp and ceremony. I had already frequently 
passed near this noble pile, which, in magnificence of ex- 
tent, grandeur of proportions, and elaborate beauty of 
construction, compared most favourably with the noblest 
specimens of Gothic architecture which I had seen, and 
these included whatever is celebrated throughout Europe. 
It possesses, indeed, a symmetrical and homogeneous cha- 
racter throughout, that is not often found in these vast piles, 
which, erected for the most part in various succeeding 
ages, generally bear the impression of the conflicting and 
discordant tastes of their constructors. 

There is, however, one defect in the external appearance 
which is sufficiently obvious, and this is, the too great 
length compared with the height ; though this, within, adds 
vastly to the character of grandeur and continuity, as you 
look along the naves from extremity to extremity. This 
defect of the exterior is moreover increased by the addition 
of Henry VII.'s chapel, on the east, which is a complete 
construction in itself, having its own proportions and style 
of architecture, namely, the florid and highly-ornamented 
Gothic, and which, however superbly beautiful when singly 
considered, is, as forming part of the whole, an ungainly 
and injurious excrescence. 

If, however, there were any impression at variance with 
unqualified admiration in contemplating this grand struc- 
ture from without, that impression vanished as I traversed 



LONDON. 



the cloisters, and, passing the noble portal, stood in the 
midst of columns, and arches, and swelling naves, sur- 
rounded by the mighty dead of England, the treasured re - 
mains, the sculptured effigies, and the recorded epitaphs of 
those who have emblazoned our history with the brightness 
of their deeds, immortalized our language, and shed un- 
dying glory on our race. 

It was the Poet's Corner, and I would have knelt, in 
imagination at least, before the efligy of Shakspeare, to 
offer the passing adoration of my mind and my heart, and 
to bless him for the elevation and dignity he had conferred 
on that nature in which I glowed with pride and enthu- 
siasm to feel that I was a common participator. But I 
was not permitted to pause, being at once ushered by gro- 
tesquely-liveried beadles, armed with maces, into the inte- 
rior sanctuary of the choir, which is a church of sufficient 
dimensions in itself, fashioned within the central nave of 
the cathedral, and set apart for the services of a worship 
which does not admit of heing exercised in a vast and too 
extended an edifice. 

The choir was separated from the body of the abbey by 
screens of richly-carved wood, and a lofty organ intersect- 
ing the central nave, and interrupting the grand effects of 
its continuous ranges of columns and arches. There was, 
however, a partial glimpse of its vastness and grandeur 
above and on either hand, where the eye followed the co- 
lumns of dark marble as they expanded into pointed arches, 
supporting in turn the ribbed and fretted roof, which, rich 
with gilding and blazonry, swelled nobly harmonious above ; 
while, at either extremity of the cross, the stained and sto- 
ried windows admitted a dim and solemn light, which grew 
and waned perpetually with the fitful alternations of the 
sky. \ 

The service was about to commence; many of the seats 



LONDON 



Ml 



were already tilled ; and the beadle, having scanned our air 
and attire to graduate his courtesy, conducted us to a very 
comfortable seat, holding out, as we entered, his familiar 
hand to receive the customary gratification. There were 
many clergymen seated in the stalls of the choir on either 
hand, while lower down were bands of professional chan- 
ters and boys, dressed as in Catholic cathedrals, and con- 
tributing, with the effect of the edifice, to carry the mind 
back to the Romish usages of which it was for so many 
centuries the scene. 

At the chiming of a small bell, telling the quarters, the 
services commenced. A well-fed, dark-haired, and whis- 
kered clergyman led off in a soft melodious voice, cadenced 
as in the mass, and the responses were made in the same 
style, from the entire choir, the organ playing the custo- 
mary accompaniment. The effect of this service was very 
similar to that of the Roman church, doubtless being pre- 
cisely that which came in use at the Reformation, the Li- 
tany being translated, and the English language substituted 
for the Latin, with preservation of the Roman forms. 
There was much of the same pomp, and the well-drilled 
chanter seemed to study the harmony of his accents more 
than solemnity of utterance. The effect of the liturgy in 
this form, in which very important words were occasion- 
ally swallowed and lost to the hearer, was not unlike that 
which is produced— if one might compare a church to a 
theatre — by the subjection of Shakspeare's sentences to 
t operatic forms. It is, however, but fair to add, that if, as 
tfie perversion grew familiar to me, I learned gradually to 
listen with composure to Othello's song when he is about 
to stifle Desdemona, so also in process of time I came to 
like the cathedral service of the Church of England, and to 
seek every occasion of listening to it. 

As for our sermon, instead of glowing with feeling and 



298 



LONDON. 



eloquence, and being filled with exulting pictures of that 
scheme of redemption which it was Christ's mission to ful- 
fil, it was from first to last a cold and listless declamation 
about the lusts of the world, the flesh and the devil, uttered, 
if not with an air of unbelief, at least with one of supreme 
indifference whether belief were inspired in others. It was 
almost ludicrous to observe the heartless manner in which 
the faithful were told that religion must be of the heart. 
In short, it was quite evident that the sermon was preached 
because it was paid for, though unquestionably beyond 
its value. The preacher had a small head, a delicate hand, 
a decidedly fashionable look, and an extreme air of good 
tone. Every thing about him, indeed, spoke of a famous 
salary, — the gift of God, by whose providence he had been 
born of good family, and showed that he was in no manner 
indebted to his flock of miscellaneous hearers, who might 
either repair to, or keep aloof from, a richly-endowed esta- 
blishment, which was alike independent of their charity 
and their faith. 

If I were eager for the close of the sermon because it was 
a stupid one, I had also an additional motive of impatience 
in my desire to loiter through the aisles of the Abbey, exa- 
mining its rich monuments and eloquent inscriptions, and 
offering my homage at the shrine of departed genius. In 
this intention, however, I was frustrated by the assiduous 
beadles, who headed me off as I was starting on my excur- 
sion, ushering me out as rapidly as the rest. This, indeed, 
was one of the days of the year in which the Abbey is not a 
shown ; for the pilgrim, no matter from what distance ne 
may have wandered, is not permitted to approach the 
remains of Milton and Shakspeare without the payment of 
money. The sentiments which such a visit is calculated to 
awaken in a generous bosom are sold for silver, passing 
into the pockets of the greedy gleaners, or expended in 



LONDON. 



200 



repairs, which might well he met hy the ample endowment 
provided by the piety of past ages, were it not diverted 
from its legitimate uses to minister to the cravings of sacer- 
dotal avarice. 

I had to repeat my visit to the Abbey the following day, 
and wandered through the precincts, examining the monu- 
ments, and reading the inscriptions, with such a feeling of 
awe and admiration as they were suited to inspire. There 
is no end, indeed, to the claims to one's attention on every 
side ; for architecture, sculpture, and the consecrating asso- 
ciations of genius, of greatness, and of misfortune, are all 
here to awaken the admiration, or stir the sympathies with 
a tender and touching interest. 

In the chapel of Henry VII. the mind is awed by the 
gorgeous character of the architecture, and by the splen- 
dour of the monuments which entomb the buried majesty of 
England's kings; while above are seen the swords, the 
helmets, and the waving banners of the knights of one of 
the noblest orders of Christendom, to complete the im- 
pression of the scene, and fill the imagination with images 
of magnificence and pomp. Now, one of the tenderest 
and most mournful recollections which history and a Shak- 
speare's muse have traced in the memory, is quickened into 
new life by the sight of that tomb beneath which repose the 
remains of the early victims of a Richard's cruelty; anon, 
the proud sepulchre of the murdered Mary is seen to mock, 
by its pomp and gorgeousness, the unequalled misfortunes 
of that queen, so renowed for beauty, genius, and attrac- 
tion; who added every loveliness of person to the most 
bewitching graces of the mind ; and who only closed a 
hopeless captivity, which extended through half a life, 
begun with every circumstance of auspiciousness and pro- 
mise, with a death of ignominy and horror. 

With what a melancholy feeling does the fancy not revert 



300 



LONDON. 



from the proud effigy of the queen, full of loveliness, and 
clothed with all the emblems of state and power, to the days 
succeeding that of her execution at Fotheringay, during 
which her headless trunk, deserted by her women, who 
were not permitted to approach it, and render the decencies 
which the meanest of her sex might have claimed for her 
remains, lay exposed in a lumber-room, with no death- 
clothes more becoming than the tatters of an old cloth, which 
had been torn from a billiard-table ! 

In a chantry over one of the chapels were some wainscot 
presses, containing wax figures of various princes, heroes, 
and statesmen. Among them was one of Queen Elizabeth, 
executed with admirable reality and life, and dressed, as 1 
was told, in garments which she had worn. The figure is 
tall and commanding ; but the face is imperious and for- 
bidding, the complexion bad, and the hair coarse and carroty. 
1 was delighted to find this evidence that the beauty on 
which she prided herself, and which she was fain to place 
in competition with that of her persecuted and murdered 
rival, had no existence save in her own vanity, and the base 
flattery of sycophants and courtiers. 

Here is also a similar statue, which I gazed on with very 
different feelings. It is that of Nelson, taken from life, dress- 
ed in his own clothes, and fresh with the hues of health. 
On the glass case are those words in which the hero gave 
utterance to his aspirations, previous to that battle which 
closed his splendid career — " Victory or Westminster 
Abbey !" I know not why they should have been placed 
there, unless to show that, from whatever motive, his last 
behest had not been held sacred. 

In another part of the Abbey is an effigy of like execution, 
representing Charles I. in the robes which he was wont to 
wear at Windsor, at the installation of the knights of the 
Garter. It bespeaks the same genius, the same amiability. 



LONDON. 



301 



the same mournfulness, the same presentiment of melan- 
choly and misfortune to come, which characterise those 
noble portraits of Vandyke, who seems, as it were, to have 
shadowed forth in anticipation the fate of his illustrious 
patron. How sorrowful is the nature of those feelings 
which are awakened by the contemplation of this counte- 
nance, in whomsoever has a heart to admire genius or to 
pity misfortune ! Brave, generous, talented, courteous, full 
of tenderness and romantic devotion to the gentler sex, 
Charles, with all the nobler and better qualities of Mary 
Stuart, was a stranger to her vices. Yet, like her, he died 
on the scaffold; though, in his case, popular violence, and 
not the jealousy and feigned dread of a rival, aimed the blow. 

Among the objects of curiosity preserved in Westminster 
Abbey are the famed Doomsday-book, and the stone brought 
from Scone, with the regalia of Scotland, by the first Ed- 
ward, and reputed to be that veritable pillow on which Jacob 
reclined during the night when his sleep was so disturbed 
by terrifying visions. Perhaps there could scarce be devised 
a surer provocation to dreams than a pillow such as this. 
My own tastes led me, however, rather to dwell upon the 
beauty or associated interest of the monuments and the 
eloquence of the inscriptions, than to attend to the claims of 
these venerable representatives of a remote antiquity. The 
circumstances, however, under which the Abbey is seen, 
are not very favourable to the indulgence of those feelings 
which almost every object is suited to awaken. Whoever 
has visited Westminster Abbey, will bear witness with me 
to the annoyance and disgust which are awakened in the 
mind by the low slang, the unintelligible jargon, the gro- 
tesque and cockney commentaries of the mercenary and 
degraded showmen, disturbing, as they do perpetually, the 
current of gentle thought, and melancholy musings. 

Many pieces of sculpture here possess great beauty. 



302 



LONDON. 



Among those which arrested my attention, I was most 
struck with one by Roubillac. It represents a beautiful 
lady reposing in the arms of her husband, while Death is 
seen starting from the half open lid of a sarcophagus beneath, 
grasping in his skeleton hand a dart, which he directs to 
the heart of his victim. Her spirit seems to fade at the ap- 
proach of the unerring weapon. The husband, overcome 
with dismay, in vain clasps her in an affectionate embrace, 
which is yet powerless to protect her from the grim King of 
Terrors, whose whole figure expresses a singular ruthless- 
ness, energy, and exultation, which the sculptor, with incon- 
ceivable and perplexing art, has been able to infuse into a 
mere fleshless skeleton. 

There are also two statues by Chantrey, one of Canning, 
the other of Watt, the engineer, which conveyed to me an 
idea of the genius of that artist very different from, and very 
superior to, that which I had formed from his statue of 
Washington, in which he has treated the grandest subject 
that ever fell into his hands, whether we consider the history 
and character of the individual, or the nobleness of his form 
and features, without genius or skill. Canova's conception 
of the hero was of a far different character. There is some- 
thing godlike and sublime in his noble creation, at once worthy 
of Canova, and worthy of Washington. 

There was one circumstance which struck me as extra- 
ordinary, as I loitered through the aisles, and this was the 
frequent evidence of mutilation. This is particularly notice- 
able in the monument to the memory of Major Andre. There 
are a number of bass-reliefs about it, which have been pur- 
posely injured, the nose being broken from most of the figures. 
If it had been an old monument, dating previous to the Com- 
monwealth, the origin and cause of this destruction would 
have been sufficiently obvious ; for Cromwell's followers, 
in their double capacity of Presbyterians and plebeians, had 



LONDON. 



303 



an equal horror for images of all sorts, and for whatever 
they might conceive to be either idolatrous or aristocratic ; 
wherever they passed they dealt largely in mutilation, and 
were as fatal to marble noses, as some diseases are to real 
ones. This monument of Andr6, however, is of our own 
times. There was nothing in his fate to excite other senti- 
ments than those of pity, and the mutilation of his monu- 
ment can only be taken as an evidence of a popular pro- 
pensity for destruction. 

It is in the Poets' Corner, however, that the pilgrim's 
footsteps most fondly linger. It is there that his eyes — 
haply, not unsuffused with tears — trace and retrace names, 
and study lineaments, connected with his sublimest and 
tenderest associations, until at length his fancy almost 
places him in communion with the idols of his imagination. 

In no place, perhaps, is the sentiment of gratitude so 
nobly awakened as in this ; a gratitnde which is not one- 
rous, which calls for no return but itself, which is freely 
rendered as a fit tribute for unalloyed pleasures, for happy 
hours, and endearing associations, for accessions of ideas, 
which we could never have invented ourselves, and which 
yet become thenceforth and for ever our own. 

It is no bold assertion, no childish dealing in extravagant 
and unfounded superlatives, to say, that no place in the 
world is capable of recalling so many associations, connect- 
ed with whatever is most godlike in human genius. Sup- 
posing each country to have — as it has not — a like hallow- 
ed receptacle for the remains of its most honoured child- 
ren, yet which other of modern times can boast such a 
name as that of Shakspeare. Where shall we look for the 
counterpart of the divine Milton ? — Where else for the 
godlike and intuitive perception of the secrets of nature, — 
fora genius so nearly kindred to that which created it, — as 
that which characterized Newton, who, in the words of his 



304 



LONDON. 



epitaph, — " first solved on principles of his own, the figure 
and motions of the planets, the paths of comets, the ebbing and 
flowing of the sea, the nature of light, and the real charac- 
ter of the colours which arise from it, and by his philoso- 
phy maintained the dignity of the Supreme Being ? — How 
great reason have not mortals to pride themselves in the 
existence of such an ornament of their race !" 

The monuments of the Poet's corner are blackened by 
time and the intrusion of an impure atmosphere ; but the 
memory of those to whom they are sacred is still and will 
ever be green in the hearts of their countrymen — of their 
countrymen on either side the ocean, whose intervening 
depths have no power to modify the common sentiment of 
love ; and their fame, instead of being consigned to the sole 
keeping of those who dwell within the narrow circuit of 
this little, yet most renowned isle, is fast spreading itself 
over the boundless regions of a vast continent, whose po- 
pulation are equally its guardians ; the preservers alike of 
that which they wrote, and of the language in which it was 
written ; who are imbued with their sentiments, and have 
been emboldened by their inspirations ; at whose fire-sides 
their busts take their place beside those of a Washington 
and a Franklin, the patriots who have bequeathed freedom 
to the land, and are enrolled among the household gods of 
a people, whose homage and admiration are not frittered 
away in sentiments of indiscriminating loyalty to kings and 
princes, but reserved, in their integrity, to be offered as an 
undivided and undegraded tribute at the shrine of heroism 
and genius. 

There was one parting regret with which I took leave of 
Westminster Abbey. I had seen many names there which 
I had never seen before, and which I ceased to remember 
ere I had left the cloisters ; but I looked in vain for the 
familiar and honoured one of the chancellor Bacon. 



LONDON. 



In a quiet street of the more aristocratic region of Lon- 
don is the well-known den of a great publishing lion. No 
gilded sign, no obtrusive placards hung flauntingly in the 
street, are seen to catch the eye of passing stranger, and 
exercise their eloquence in converting him into a customer. 
A brass plate on the door alone announces a name familiar 
to title-pages, and connected in the mind with much that is 
most valuable in the literature of the age. Within this door 
a long room is seen, with well-filled shelves of books on 
either hand. A counter of polished oak on the left is strewn 
with reviews, elegantly printed prospectuses of forthcom- 
ing works, or beautiful volumes of tempting aspect, which 
announce the last triumphs of the press. Behind this, a 
single clerk is seen engaged with his accounts ; while in the 
obscurity beyond, a plodding shopman is busy, preparing 
boxes and parcels to be despatched to country customers by 
coach or van, and carry the latest edification or amusement 
to aristocratic halls, or the rural retreats of the curious and 
the intelligent. 

So much may be discovered by whoever may wish to 
become the purchaser of a book. He who may have claims 
or courage to penetrate beyond, will discover a green door, 
having a small glass peep-hole, concealed by a taffeta cur- 
tain of the same colour, and intended to reconnoitre indi- 
gent authors and pertinacious men of genius, the ponderous 
producers of voluminous epics, who, after years passed in 
dreams of immortality, and in the confidence of assimilation 
to a Shakspeare and a Milton, begin, at the end of an hour's 
attendance in the anteroom of the literary accoucheur, first 
to doubt the excellence of their embryo, and go away at 
length, sunk from their high estate, and bursting with cho- 
ler and vexation, at being told that what has cost them so 
many pangs is not worthy to be brought into the world. 

Perhaps there is not in the wide world an object more 

20 



LONDON 



pitiable than the self-imaged man of Renins, when thus 
rudely awakened from his delusion. If a sense of power 
and a conviction of superiority be indeed, as is said to he 
the case, the common concomitant of genius, a modest dif- 
fidence and doubt is quite as usual a one. The first, in 
deed, is often attended by a prurient imagination, undi- 
rected by good taste, or an effervescence and pseudo poetry 
of feeling, unaided by any day-spring of ideas. When 
such a man arouses from his dream of god-like genius at 
the rude touch of the publisher's pencil, — scratching upon 
his manuscript the damnatory sentence — "Not of a de- 
scription suited to the taste of the day" — or — "Mr. Blank, 
being much engaged, declines publishing," — to the waking 
conviction, that instead of an inspired and immortal poei, 
he is only a miserable rhymer; and that he has wasted, in 
the production of lame and limping verses, the time that, 
with security of profit, might have been advantageousl \ 
employed in the casting up of accounts, — his situation must 
be miserable indeed. 

The individual who, carried forward by his own im- 
pudence, or freely admitted, reaches the inner sanctuary 
beyond this mysterious door, discovers a small neat room 
with a few necessary articles of furniture ; two or three 
chairs, and a writing-table, whose pigeon-holes are stuffed 
with blotted manuscripts, a few elegant volumes, and some 
costly engravings, the meditated embellishments of forth- 
coming works. If the lion should not have disappeared by 
some one of the various sally-ports, invented for the pur- 
pose of escape from unwelcome visitation, but be found in 
his den, the visitor beholds himself face to face w ith an in 
dividual slightly touched by time, yet firm and elastic in 
his step, and with an air of activity and health; neat in his 
dress, of a gentlemanlike appearance, polished manners, 
and as much fluency of speech as falls commonly to the lot 



LONDON. 



3M7 



of his countrymen; and he is not sorry to have the op- 
portunity of an interview with one who has been the besl 
patron of literature in an age teeming with literary pro 
(taction. 

Perhaps it may even be the lot of our visitor to pene- 
trate to the apartments above, and to admire, with no 
common feeling of pleasure, the choice collection of manu- 
scripts and letters, the originals of those which have at- 
tracted so much interest, and of whatever is most valuable 
in literature, there interspersed with noble portraits of 
some of its modern producers — men who have monopolized 
almost the attention of the age which they honoured, and 
who were the frequent breathers of this literary atmo- 
sphere, which their presence has consecrated. They who 
have had the opportunity of knowing will tell you, more- 
over, that these precincts, which genius has hallowed, are 
still the not unfrequent resort of such choice spirits as re- 
main, and that the feast of reason there celebrated is not 
the less so for being blended with banqueting of a more 
substantial character. 



20 r 



CHAPTER XXIV. 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND. 

Leave London — Spread Eagle Coach — Road to Dover — Steamer — Voyage 
— Fellow-travellers — Disembarkation — Hotel Quillacq — Comparison of 
France and England— Conclusion. 

The period of my leaving England came upon me very 
suddenly, and with little previous intimation. I received, 
on the first day of the new year, a note from the amiable 
and intelligent young friend who, at an age inferior to my 
own, so creditably filled the important station of our di- 
plomatic agent at St. James's, requesting me to charge 
myself with despatches for our minister in Madrid, con- 
taining his new powers, accrediting him to the government 
which had succeeded that of Ferdinand. 

The civil war, which has continued with such disastrous 
fury to rage in the north of Spain, since the accession of 
Isabella 11., had already commenced. The ordinary com- 
munications w ere intercepted on the direct route for some 
distance beyond the French frontier ; couriers were per- 
petually interrupted and despoiled of their papers; and the 
latest gazettes brought intelligence of the detention and 
maltreatment of a French Secretary of Legation, his escort 



4 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND. 303 

having been fired into. There were daily accounts of fo- 
rays, charges, and loss of life, without much attention to 
the claims and immunities of strangers to the quarrel, even 
when they happened to be recognised. The service was 
then one of some difficulty, which, as an officer of the 
government, familiar, moreover, with the language and 
manners of the country to be traversed, I did not feel at 
liberty to decline. 

I had, to be sure, a conscientious wish, growing out of 
some perseverance or obstinacy of disposition, by which- 
ever name the quality may be dignified, to acquit myself of 
the literary undertaking which had brought me to England, 
however distasteful it had already become to me ; still, the 
alacrity with which I undertook the service proposed to 
me, the pleasure and return of cheerfulness, to which I 
had long been a stranger, with which I hurried through the 
various preparations consequent upon so sudden a change 
of purpose, and the undisguised and overflowing joy with 
which I took my seat the very next morning in the Spread 
Eagle coach for Dover, with a charge of some importance 
upon my mind, an immediate motive for exertion to arouse 
me from my stupor, all convinced me that, treacherous as 
was the feeling to the purpose which had brought me from 
my home, I was not sorry to escape from that merry Eng- 
land, which to me, at least, had proved to be otherwise, 
and to have the sunny Spain gleaming brightly in my re- 
collection, as the end and object of my journey. 

Our coach at starting was surrounded by the customary 
venders of knives, pencils, newspapers, and maps of the 
road, not forgetting the eloquent Hibernian, who held up 
Hood's Comic Annual, with the solemn assurance that it 
would make us laugh the whole way to Dover. My fellow 
passengers within consisted of a Scotch lady and her son, 
who were going to reside at Hontleur, and a young Anglo- 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND. 



Frenchman from Mauritius, just turned adrift in the world, 
without any superfluity of ballast, and who had a famous 
scar on one side of his nose, which sufficiently indicated 
that he was of an adventurous disposition. 

As far as Gravesend, the road was the same which I 
had traversed on my first journey in England. Towards 
Rochester, the country lost its level character, and became 
more broken and picturesque than any that I had yet seen 
m England. The hills were higher, and more boldly un- 
dulated ; and although the soil was only two or three feet 
deep, reposing, wherever it was revealed beneath the 
surface, on a bed of chalk, yet it was everywhere in a 
high state of cultivation, and, where left in grass, still 
beautifully verdant. 

Ascending a hill, we came, at the summit, in sight of 
Rochester, charmingly situated on the Medway, which is 
here a considerable arm of the sea, navigable for coasting 
vessels, of which there were a number, with their sails 
loosed to dry, in the harbour. A fine stone bridge traversed 
the stream, and above it, on the bank beyond, were seen 
the crumbling battlements of an ancient Norman castle. 
Out of the heart of the town rose the tall roof of the cathe- 
dral, which is of Gothic construction and of great antiquity. 
As we crossed the bridge, and rattled down the main 
street, we passed numbers of the officers in garrison, tall, 
dashing, well-dressed fellows, who, beset with listlessness, 
were eyeing the young women from the various corners 
and crossing- places, and meditating mischief for others and 
amusement for themselves. One sea-lieutenant, whose 
tarnished epaulet and buttons told of poverty and salt 
water, came roiling down the street with a noble lump 
of a wife in tow on his arm. It was an illustration of the 
difference between the soldier and sailor, and the decided 
propensity of the last to be caught, especially when he 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND. 



311 



comes ashore after a long cruise, and finds himself, at the 
sight of the first woman, irresistibly beset by the pleasing 
idea of having a wife of his own. 

At the last relay before reaching Canterbury, there was 
a curious, though not a very interesting, spectacle, at the 
inn door. Immediately in front of it lay a drunken soldier 
of the forty -sixth regiment, wallowing in the dirt, and 
without power to recover his legs. His red coat, and 
pipe-clayed bells which bore the marks of recent good 
keeping, were sadly smeared with mud. In the midst of 
his abortive efforts to move his body, his tongue ran glibly 
enough, recounting the history of his regiment, and telling 
how he was going on furlough. The landlady, being very 
much scandalized, was very anxious that he should take 
benefit of his leave, and set forward immediately; and 
encouraged, with this motive, a benevolent young rifle- 
man, who was endeavouring to aid him, with the promise, 
should he succeed, of what would have made him as glo- 
rious as his comrade. One of our passengers, who seemed 
to be knowing in these matters, called from the top of the 
coach to give him some mustard. There was something 
irresistibly ludicrous in the demurrer of the drunken man, 
who, with a knowing squint, rejected the prescription — 
44 Mustard, eh! mustard! as much liquor as you like, but 
no mustard!" Meantime, all the village urchins had ga- 
thered about, and were looking on observingly. They 
were dressed in breeches and yarn stockings, or leggings, 
and had a very old-fashioned look. 

After a bad dinner, eaten in a great hurry, at Canter- 
bury, we set forward, and reached Dover at eight o'clock, 
descending a sufficiently precipitous road, through a ravine, 
which at this place interrupts the perpendicular character 
of the lofty cliffs beneath which Dover is situated. Having 
taken a cup of tea at the inn which the coach stopped at 



Hi DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND-. 

and which, considered as an English inn, was not par- 
ticularly £ood, I strolled forth to look at the piers, the 
basin, and whatever else might be discovered in a dark 
and gusty night. 

At five o'clock we were all roused in readiness to take 
the packet for Calais. Soon after the steward came, with 
the message that we might make ourselves quiet for a 
couple of hours, as the tide would not serve until seven. 
Some of the passengers addresed themselves to the busi- 
ness of getting breakfast, while I set about writing a letter. 
Suddenly we were told that the packet was casting of, and 
would be at sea in a moment. " Six shillings and six- 
pence!" cried the landlord; "Waiter, sir! waiter!" — 
" Boots, sir! if you please, boots!" — "Please don't forget 
the chambermaid, sir!" said a pretty, smiling girl, stretching 
forth her hand, and naked, well-rounded arm. 

In other moods, this last might have been a redeeming 
circumstance; but in the midst of the confusion of collecting 
effects, attending to those demands which were not to be 
resisted, as the appellants placed themselves in the road, 
anxiety to bundle one's self into the steamer, and ap- 
prehensions of being left, it was only an additional an- 
noyance. When I reached the pier, the steamer had 
swung her bow off, and had given one preparatory snort 
ere she set herself in motion. A desperate leap carried me 
on to her quarter, and, on looking round, I was made 
happy in discovering that my household goods, portman- 
teau, bag, and hat-case, were all around me. INot so the 
Anglo-Frenchman, who, ere long, became aware that he 
had parted company with an enormous chest, which had 
already occasioned him some annoyance, and which con- 
tained, as he said, forty shirts to begin. The youth bore 
the deprivation with a philosophic placidity, that papa, had 
he been there, might not have participated in. 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND. 313 

In a minute after, we had passed the pier-head, and were 
at sea in the open Channel. This was an artifieial harbour, 
excavated into the open coast, and when we had passed the 
tide-light at the pier-head, without prelude of any sort, we 
commenced rolling forthwith. The wind was strong from 
the south-west, and the jib and foresail were set, to help 
along and steady her ; still the motion was short, quick, 
lurching, and intolerably disagreeable. 

The day had not yet dawned; it was squally, with passing 
rain, and a gale which strengthened each instant as we left 
the shelter of the coast. Shakspeare's Cliff, and the op- 
posite eminence crowned by the old Castle of Dover, 
overhung us for a brief interval, while, in either direction, 
the frowning and inhospitable coast might be discovered for 
a short distance through the gloom, while northward were 
seen two enormous lights, looming out like rival suns, shin- 
ing portentously through a fog on the banks of Newfound- 
land. 

Presently we discovered a large ship standing for the 
shore, which was not half a mile distant. One of the sailors 
re-assured me, however, concerning her position, by telling 
me that there was no danger while the lights were in sight. 
The moment they were shut in, it would be time to tack. 
In a few minutes more the coast, the Cliffs, and Castle, had 
equally disappeared. Nothing of the land was seen except 
the two looming lights, and the only other object visible was 
our little steamer, fretting and plunging through the agitated 
sea, and emitting a black smoke, more dismal than the 
frowning clouds above, and which, scattered furiously by the 
wind, soon hastened to mingle with them. 

If the scene without were wild and terrific, that within 
was ludicrous and disgusting. The passengers, a few mi- 
nutes before replete with life and activity, and taken up 



311 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND 



witli earnest attention to their effects, were now strelchc \\ 
lifeless, sonic below, others on deck, heedless of spray or 
rain, in the presence of a more overwhelming calamity ; 
all, however, whether above or below, were equally pro 
\ided with basins by fellows whose daily business it seemed 
to be to distribute them. The provocative to sea-sickness 
appeared, naturally enough, to be in almost every instance 
irresistible. The coolness and system with which this thing 
was done was really chilling ; and I fled at each approach 
of a basin-bearer — offering his commodity as if he were 
handing about refreshments — with mortal apprehension. 

Among the passengers were many young ladies com- 
pletely overcome, drifting from side to side, abandoned by 
their companions, and receiving scant courtesy from the 
crew, to whom the spectacle was neither novel nor heart- 
rending. Among the various persons thus sorely dis 
couraged at the outset of their travels, I noticed an immense 
young lubber, more than six feet high, who was done up in 
various water-proof caps, cloaks and comforters, apparently 
provided for this very emergency. I never saw a more 
abortive personification of comfort. 

A more sentimental and less sick companion of his 
talked to him in the interval of his own spasms, concerning 
the picturesque grandeur of the scene, and wild agitation 
of the elements. He presently added, as a consolatory 
salvo, — " You are too sick, however, to enjoy fine scenery." 
The stout lubber, thus taunted, presently picked himself up, 
and began stumbling about in search of the picturesque, 
on two long and formidable supporters, which would have 
been doubtless more at home on either side of a hunter. 
His efforts to stalk about, now grabbing the shrouds, 
now the funnel, anon a stout woman, adrift like himself, 
were about as successfully abortive as the movements of a 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND. 



chicken with its head cut off. At last he let go his hold of 
the screaming woman, gave up the pursuit of the pictur- 
esque, and made himself comfortable in the lee scuppers. 

A few awful hours, which made up an age of misery, 
brought us in sight of the French coast, and of a bark 
which seemed to have a signal of distress up. This very 
neighbourhood is at this season the yearly scene of many 
.shipwrecks, attended not unfrequently with deplorable loss 
of life. To our great annoyance the tide was out, and we 
were obliged to anchor, at the distance of a mile or two 
from the coast. The town of Calais loomed out through 
the storm. Two nobly-constructed quays stretched from 
the port, in which the vessels lay aground, far seaward. 
The extremities of these were covered with people, while 
others wandered along the strand, seeking for whatever rem- 
nants of wrecked vessels or ruined cargoes the tide might 
have left there. A belfry on the end of the quay seemed 
placed there to ring an alarm, and call for succour, in the 
event of any signal of distress from seaward. 

Ere long a number of stout boats put off to disembark 
us. Every one, short as had been our voyage, sighed to 
enjoy the wished-for land as earnestly as the tempest- 
tossed /Eneas. I was anxious to secure a place in the mail, 
having an object of importance which precluded me from 
being ceremonious, and therefore dashed in forthwith. 
Many followed ; among them a lady, who, being nearly sepa- 
rated from her party, was dragged in by her companion, 
while the boatmen, pronouncing their boat already over- 
laden, attempted to resist it, she vibrating half overboard on 
the gunwale. We were a confused heap of passengers and 
portmanteaus, some of the first as lifeless as the last. Our 
stout young fellow, having mustered strength to escape from 
the scene of his tortures, lay down as dead 



316 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND 



Some young Englishmen, commencing already the bu- 
siness of abuse, which was to be the chief occupation of 
those travels which they were about to begin, exercised 
their returning sensibilities, in ridiculing our boatmen. 
Perhaps they did not handle their oars quite so skilfully as 
Englishmen would have done, and it might, moreover, be 
objected, that they made more noise than was necessary. 
To blame them for chatting was to blame them for being 
Frenchmen. Yet they were cheerful in their toil, which 
was something, and their shouts were shouts of encou- 
ragement. " Tirez, mes enfans! tirez! doublez le point!" 
This was not so easily done as said. The tide ran out as 
furiously as the breakers came in. Though the men on the 
quay waved to us perpetually, indicating the deepest water, 
yet we repeatedly grounded astern; our bow would be 
swept out by the tide, and the broadside coming round to 
the breakers, they would come over us most refreshingly 
for a January day. I had about two barrels-full to my 
share, and it was quite enough to render me comfortably 
moist. 

At length, some men on the beach, prompted by a cha- 
ritable benevolence, for which I thanked them from the 
bottom of my heart, bethought themselves to send off a buoy 
and line to us. This being attached to our bow, we were 
quickly drawn upon the beach ; and a precious draught of 
drenched and sea-sick sinners it was. As the boat would 
not come up high and dry, we were obliged to be carried 
ashore by the fishermen, who waded off to us, two carrying 
a lady in their locked arms, and one a man, mounted as on 
horseback. Our young hero of the manifold caps and 
water-proofs, whether scorning to be carried by a French- 
man, or dreading the imposition which, under circumstances 
of similar necessity, would have been practised in his own 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND. 



317 



country, or taking counsel of his manhood alone, boldly 
stepped into the sea, and marched forward with the faith 
of Peter. 

The beach presented a singular scene. The spectacle of 
wet luggage, and soaked, sea-sick, chop-fallen passengers, 
was most deplorable. Not one of all the rescued but looked 
as though he had been recently indebted for resuscitation 
to the apparatus of the Humane Society. Such shawls, 
such bonnets, such watered silks, and such dishevelled hair! 
— above all, such whiskers ! A whisker, when in its highest 
feather, and in all the pomp and pride of pommade, and 
cire, and of consummate keeping, is assuredly a thing to be 
admired. But what spectacle is there so deplorable as 
your drowned — your crest-fallen — your dejected whisker ? 
When I looked round, indeed, on the whiskered faces about 
me, and remembered my own destitution, I was disposed 
to feel anything but envious. 

The strange people, among whom we had made so un- 
dignified an entry, were also in some measure objects of 
curious attention. The phlegm of the other side of the 
channel had disappeared in the sail of a few hours. Every- 
thing was done with much noise and controversy, accom- 
panied by earnest gestures and almost frantic cries. Here, 
too, the national drollery and sense of ridicule began already 
to assert itself among these uncultivated fishermen, one of 
whom, looking at our tall worthy, who was no less extra- 
ordinary on shore than he had proved himself afloat, 
pronounced thus prematurely a verdict of absurdity, which 
was sure to be confirmed by the more enlightened judgment 
of the Boulevards, and the terrace of the Tuileries, " Qu y il 
est drole, ce gros gaillard!" 

There was much to admire in the conduct of the crowd. 
They were not troublesome, obtrusive of their services, 
vexatious, or mercenary, and indications of intemperance 



•31S 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND. 



were nowhere to be seen. The man who carried me on 
shore, instead of stipulating for half-a-guinea, when midway 
from the boat to land, under penalty of depositing me, could 
not be found soon after to receive his compensation. The 
Douaniers, though firm and dignified, incapable of any 
low and vulgar truckling, or accessibility to bribery, were 
yet most civil and obliging, yielding their personal aid in 
protecting and transporting the luggage to the custom-house. 
Every functionary vied in courtesy ; so that when I had 
been to the post-office to secure my place in the Malle, 1 
traversed the ancient Place d'Armes of this famous old city, 
and entered the Hotel Quillacq with a cheerfulness and 
gaite de coeur to which I had long been a stranger. 

The inn was an extensive quadrangle, with a porte cochSre 
and an open courtyard. At one side was the remise, well 
filled with britschkas and travelling-carriages. A chariot, 
covered with a profusion of boxes, hat-cases, and leathern 
conveniences, was drawn up at the foot of the principal 
stairway, and Quillacq in person had just closed the door 
upon some people of rank who had that moment entered. 
Two postilions, each conducting a pair of stout, stubborn, 
serviceable-looking horses, and whose gaiety, in sympathy 
with their lively livery, seemed in the inverse ratio of the 
heaviness of their boots, now cracked their whips and set 
forward with many shouts. Quillacq bowed low, and the 
great personages having departed, made room for the 
humbler to take their place. 

My room was neatly and tastefully furnished, and the 
French bed had a very tempting look to one long cut off 
from its comforts. But there were other and more interest- 
ing cares. It was past noon, and as yet I had not eaten ; 
so, changing my dress, I descended without unnecessary 
loss of time to the coffee-room. It was quite plain and 
uncarpeted ; a wood fire burned in a Franklin-stove at the 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND 



31 i) 



farther comer; the chairs were of the simplest form; :i 
few engravings ornamented the walls ; while through 
frequent windows on street or courtyard, God's light 
streamed in, in untaxed abundance. 

I rang the bell with a hasty and energetic jerk, suited to 
convey the idea of a hungry man. " Voila, Monsieur! 1 ' 
said the waiter, overflowing with alacrity. I set forth the 
nature and urgency of my wants with sober truth and 
earnestness, and with the eloquence that was in my feel- 
ings, and which, ere long, was productive of comfortable 
results. Meantime, I meditated upon the land which 1 
had left, and that in which I had arrived. It is impossible 
to deny that in many of the nobler points of character, the 
English greatly excel their more mercurial neighbours. 
Without assuming their alleged superiority in one par- 
ticular, intimately connected with the well-being of society, 
— namely, female virtue, — there are many others in which 
their advantage is undoubted. In the matter of patriotism 
and public probity, for instance, where would you look in 
France for such a man as Lord Althorp, now Earl Spencer, 
and where for individuals or parties capable of appreciating 
him ? A man who, endowed simply with good plain sense, 
and right judgment, seeking its dictates in the counselling of 
an honest heart, possessing no superiority of genius, and 
unaided by any power of eloquence, was yet able creditably 
to fill the station which a Pitt and a Fox had illustrated by 
the brilliancy of their talents, and to carry with him on all 
occasions a weight, an influence, and an adhesion such as 
his illustrious predecessors could not often command, — a 
man whose sole power consisted in the unbounded con- 
fidence yielded by his countrymen to the rectitude of his in- 
tentions and the probity of his character. 

Such a man in a French Chamber would have been a 
yanache and afwrgmr, or at best a pnvvre homme. There. 



320 DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND 

on the contrary, the high places are filled by men of brilliant 
genius, subtle in intrigue, and expert in delusion. If you 
compare Lord Althorp with Thiers, you have a just measure 
of the value attached to public virtue and integrity in the 
two countries; the first such as we have described him; 
the second sacrificing everything and everybody to his own 
advancement, and immoveably strong in the possession of 
office, at a time when he was suspected of having used the 
political knowledge conferred by his station, and the secrets 
of the telegraph, for stock -jobbing purposes and the rearing 
of his own fortune. Whether the accusation were true 
or false is of no importance. It shows that the thing was 
possible and susceptible of belief ; the suspicion alone in 
England would have driven a public man into infamous 
and irrevocable retreat. One circumstance alone is suf- 
ficient to give the measure of political honour and public 
probity in France, — the fact that Frenchmen have been 
capable of believing in the base and mercenary peculation 
of a king, whom, by a spontaneous feeling, they chose to 
reign over them as the mirror of every princely virtue. 
The confidence which an honourable man must feel in his 
own integrity will ever make him slow to doubt the integrity 
of others. 

If, however, the better classes in England excel those 
which correspond in France, in many noble virtues essential 
to the stability and happiness of a state, the comparison 
ceases to be advantageous as you descend to the inferior 
conditions of life. In France, the lower classes are found 
to be sober, honest, civil, courteous, actuated by a genuine 
sense of politeness ; instead of being characterized by every 
vicious propensity, and taking pleasure in the exhibition of 
a gratuitous brutality. The reason of this difference is 
obvious enough. Regenerated by their revolution, reliev- 
ed from the odious distinctions and the oppressive burdens 



DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND 



321 



by which they were degraded and crushed, the French have 
won for themselves that equality which, as it is the dearest 
want, is also the most ennobling attribute of our nature. 

In addition to the pervading courtesy of the lower classes, 
there are other circumstances which not a little contribute 
to make the condition of the passing stranger pleasing in 
France. It is the amiable philosophy of the land to enjoy 
each passing moment ; to make the most of every means of 
gratification that accident scatters in the way ; to contribute 
to the pleasure of those whom chance casts, however mo- 
mentarily, beside one, as a means of promoting one's own, 
Hence, in entering a French diligence, or taking one's seat 
at a table d'hdte, instead of forbidding frowns, or at best a 
silence eloquent of ill-nature, one is greeted by kind words 
and smiles, and delighted by the amiable attention to those 
little courtesies and trifling kindnesses which, however in- 
considerable in themselves, contribute, in no slight degree, 
to make up the happiness of life. 

But one of the most pleasing contrasts is in the matter of 
meals. Every thing that this important subject embraces 
in France is civilized and unexceptionable : the hours every- 
where uniform, and neither too early nor too late; instead 
of the seclusion of one's separate corner, the social feeling, 
and the well-bred conviviality of the common table ; the 
solitary beefsteak, with its attendant potatoes, replaced by 
the abundant variety which results from the spirit of com- 
bination ; but, above all, the stupid roast and boiled, the 
miserable turnips and the cabbage, substituted by the noblest 
triumphs of our modern civilization, the triumphs of the 
French kitchen. Where, in England, could my complacent 
eyes have reposed upon such tempting mutton cutlets, such 
a dainty omelette, such rich cafe au lait, as now greeted my 
delighted vision in the Hotel Qujllac? But perhaps the 
most eloquent eulogium that one can pass on a charming 

•21 



CONCLUSION 



breakfast is to do justice to its attractions fork in hand. 
Besides, it is past twelve; we have been up and toiling all 
day, exposed to the peltings of the pitiless storm, and moist- 
ened with salt water as well as fresh. With your leave, 
therefore, kind reader, let us say, adieu! 



In conclusion, it may be proper here to state, that the 
writer returned to England, some months subsequent to the 
period to which the foregoing pages refer; that he travelled, 
with far greater gratification than on his previous visit, ex- 
tensively over the United Kingdom, keeping notes of what- 
ever he saw; the very extent of which might, had not this 
essay already satisfied him, alone deter him from the task 
of preparing them for the press, though relating simply to 
matters that came under his observation as an ordinary 
traveller, and not in any instance to dinners, balls, or draw- 
ing-rooms, or any scenes of a private nature, to which the 
courtesy and kindness of those to whom he became known 
procured him admission. 

He would not wish to relieve himself of the debt of grati- 
tude thus imposed upon him by so cheap a recognition, and 
his vanity is not of the sort to be gratified by the accidental 
association of illustrious names. Yet he cannot help re- 
gretting that his sense of propriety, and of what is due to 
the privacy of families whose hospitality submitted them to 
his observation, — and which, from being elevated, are not 
therefore excluded from the claims to remain sacred from 
being dragged into public exhibition, to gratify the small pride 
of a book-maker, or the prurient curiosity of such as may seek 
to become well-bred by external imitation, rather than by 
cherishing elevation and nobleness of sentiment with in them- 
selves, — should prevent him from drawing pictures of do- 
mestic life, alike creditable to the individuals and the country 



CONCLUSION 



to which they belong, and of a state of society characterized by 
intelligence and refinement, though chiefly known amongus 
through the blackened and perverted caricatures of writers, 
who have ascribed the vices of a few individuals to a whole 
class, and affixed to characters intended as portraits, the unna- 
tural and distorted sentiments that are peculiar to themselves. 

Believing, however, that the popular manners of Ireland 
furnish a theme for amusing description, and that the mode 
of writing adopted in this work on England might be ap- 
plied more advantageously in describing the sister kingdom, 
the writer will at least promise himself to prepare for pub 
licationthe account of his travels in that country. 



THE END. 



21 " 



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